Emily Contois

Butter and the History of U.S. Dietary Guides since 1894

Creamy, sometimes salty, and optimistically yellow, butter is one of my favorite foods. It’s also a scientific and cultural barometer. For the first half of the twentieth century, nutritionists enthusiastically endorsed butter as a good source of energy and part of a healthy, moderate diet. Early government-issued food guides endorsed eating enough food, as public… Read more →

Desire Work, Gender, and Sexuality in South African Ex-Gay Ministries: A Conversation with Melissa Hackman

In her new book, Desire Work: Ex-Gay and Pentecostal Masculinity in South Africa, Dr. Melissa Hackman examines the experiences of Pentecostal men in “ex-gay” ministries in post apartheid Cape Town. Published in 2018 by Duke University Press, Desire Work explores the belief systems, daily activities, and complicated processes of transformation that take place at the… Read more →

At the Crossroads of Comfort TV and Comfort Food

When I started my PhD, a kind mentor advised me to cope with graduate school’s stresses by eating chocolate and watching lots of TV. I received the same guidance when starting a tenure track position, though the recommendation escalated to watching TV in a (forgivable and deserved) prostrate position. This is survival advice for everyone,… Read more →

Photos with Santa Paws: Ruminations on Pets, Precarity, Consumption, and Family

Children have posed for photos with Santa, willingly or otherwise, for more than a century, but recent pics star new subjects: pets. Pet stores, along with department stores, malls, and community groups, now host special pet-friendly photo sessions. Lists abound online of such photo ops, as well as tips for how to get that perfect… Read more →

How the “Advisory State” Shapes American Bodies and Politics: A Conversation with Rachel Louise Moran

In her new book Governing Bodies: American Politics and the Shaping of the Modern Physique, historian Rachel Louise Moran examines the U.S. government’s efforts to influence citizen bodies, not through legislation or overt force, but through what Moran calls “the advisory state.” This political control stemmed from a “subtle but powerful … repertoire of governing… Read more →

How to Start a Feminist Restaurant: A Chat with Alexandra Ketchum

Just as Nursing Clio has covered #MeToo stories in academia, on the street, and in the bedroom, the movement plays out in the kitchen too. Conventional gender norms code everyday cooking as a feminine duty (and drudgery), while claiming professional food work as masculine mastery. Due to a host of additional challenges and barriers, a… Read more →

Diet Books as Utopian Manifestos: A Conversation with Adrienne Rose Bitar

I moved across country this summer, a process that necessitated packing and unpacking all of my books, including titles other academics might find odd: dozens of cookbooks (like my microwave cookbooks!) and a number of diet books (yes, some for men). Luckily, Adrienne Rose Bitar, a postdoctoral associate in history at Cornell University, can relate… Read more →

I Was Trolled – Here’s Why I’m Turning It into a Teaching Opportunity

Here’s what happened. I wrote an essay critically analyzing a YouTube talk show I actually watch and enjoy — Hot Ones — on which celebrities answer questions while eating ten chicken wings doused in hot sauces of increasing spiciness. I argued that interrelated gender conventions about flavor, food, appetite, and consumption shape how celebrity is… Read more →

Canned Food History: A Conversation with Anna Zeide

Recently, I had my students in Food in American Society and Culture try their hand at drafting dietary guidelines. While every group recommended consuming fruits and vegetables, one group specifically called out “fresh and frozen, not canned.” Their dismissal of canned fruit and veg caught my attention as I was at the time reading a… Read more →

Community Food Justice: An Interview with Garrett Broad

We think and write about justice issues a lot here at Nursing Clio: social justice, reproductive justice, criminal justice, and environmental justice, to name just a few. As our blog’s resident food historian, I think a lot about food justice, which aims to promote a fair and equitable food system for all, but most particularly… Read more →