Ereich Empey

Areas of Interest: 
Social Movements, North America and Europe, Aesthetics, Heritage, Identity, Agriculture and Agrarian Systems

Raised in California, I graduated form the University of California, Irvine as a triple major in Anthropology, History and Classics. My primary senior year research focused on on the relationship between expertise and media. After graduating, I continued onto Rice for a doctorate in Sociocultural Anthropology. At Rice, my new research interests emerged by combining an intense love of the culinary with ethnographic examination of new alimentary movements of "food as culture." I focused on how expertise arose in culinary and alimentary spaces, within the United States. The two primary research interests focus on the Craft Cocktail movement–in the United States–and Slow Food, an international phenomenon.

As a Doctoral candidate at Rice, I have completed my dissertation fieldwork in Italy, spending over a year and a half performing research on the organization of Slow Food. Originally intending to examine the socio-cultural movement of Slow Food's and its complex ideological system aimed at maintaining an active network of informed prosumers, I ethnographically examined the organizations, events and aziendae that participate in Slow Food's mission, simultaneously contributing to a complex system and recreating it in their own models. My fieldwork took time to examine the organizational side of the movement, Slow Food International, in a small Cuneese of Bra, the University of Gastronomic Sciences, located in nearby Pollenzo, and alimentary producers located in the areas of Torino, the suburbs and Bra. My most recent return to Italy included spending time looking at the 2015 World Faire in MIlan, dedicated to worldwide food systems and culture. My dissertation focuses on the conflicting ideological issues that arise within these venues participating in production of "a culture of taste."
Ereich Empey
Graduate Student