University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) visiting assistant professor Dr. Carlnita Greene’s southern roots sparked her interest in food studies, and led her to publish her first solo-authored academic book at the end of January titled Gourmands & Gluttons: The Rhetoric of Food Excess.
After co-editing the book Food as Communication/Communication as Food, and contributing to a short chapter on the gourmand, a nineteenth century historical figure who takes pleasure in food, taste and aesthetic, Greene felt there was more she needed to say.
“It has been haunting me over the years,” she explains. “I kept coming back to the idea that there was something else going on with the gourmand – that missing piece is the rhetoric of excess.”
Gourmands & Gluttons: The Rhetoric of Food Excess traces the two cultural personas of the gourmand and the glutton and looks at how they appear within popular food media and culture today. Greene argues that this rhetoric of excess leads us to engage in over-consumption, and focuses on how media can serve as a form of persuasion and influence.
She hopes that after reading her book, people will become more aware and conscious of the kinds of decisions they are making regarding food.
“The main takeaway would be questioning assumptions and looking critically at the ways in which we are being encouraged to think about food,” she says.
The satisfaction that Greene felt from completing her first book has inspired her to continue writing. She is currently working on a journal article about candy couture and hopes to undertake more books in the future.
“My writing, my research and my teaching are all very organic for me,” she explains. “My research informs my teaching, my teaching informs my research, and my writing informs both of those things. It’s all together.”
Greene’s determination to continually learn is something that she encourages her students to do as well.
“Take what you’re passionate about and see it through to fruition,” she says. “Have an idea and put it out there.”
Story by Katie MacLean ’15