I have an extensive background in food studies.  I’ve been a cook, an advocate for food sustainability and security, and a culinary anthropologist.  After several years as a professor, I am interested in applying my education and food security backgrounds to the non-profit sector.  Ideally I seek work dealing with local food systems or social justice in policy, outreach, grant writing and curriculum development.

I started in the food world as a cook.   During culinary school I worked in Oaxaca, Mexico in food tourism.  Then, I worked in development at The Sustainable Food Center in Austin, Texas and continued to volunteer with that organization through graduate school.


My dissertation, Consuming the Maya:  An Ethnography of Eating and Being in the Land of the Caste Wars, was an ethnography describing how foodways are becoming important tools in identity manipulation in a Maya village recently impacted by evangelical religions, wage labor, and tourism.


My current research interests involve researching how processes designed to promote cultural diversity seem to instead constrain individual creative endeavors.  In particular I am focused  on the impacts of UNESCO’s recognition of the indigenous cuisines of Mexico as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” and the re-imagining of authentic “Maya” cuisine by the tourist industry in Quintana Roo and the greater Yucatan peninsula.

My theoretical area of specialization within food studies is rooted in anthropology with a significant background in gender, identity performance, formation of social hierarchies and conversion theory particularly situated within indigenous Mesoamerica.


Food Studies/Gastronomy, Mesoamerica, Yucatec Maya, Identity Formation, Religious Conversion, Gender, Social Stratification, Heritage Foodways

Contact Information:

amber (at) aoconnor (dot) org


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