Job opening: Assistant / Associate Professor in Food Sociology (tenure track position)

The Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University is looking for an assistant or associate professor in food sociology. As an assistant / associate professor you will teach and coordinate Bachelor and Master courses for the Bachelor and Master program International Development Studies (specialization Sociology of Development), the Master program Health and Society and for the Master program Food Technology (specialization Gastronomy), and supervise Master thesis research for these programmes. You will undertake independent research and participate in (and coordinate) international research projects, specifically focusing on food provisioning in urbanizing societies and on the relations between food and public health, social equity and sustainable urban and regional development. Other aspects of the job include project acquisition, training and supervision of PhD students and participation in various research and/or education committees.


We ask

  • A PhD degree in (rural) sociology, food policy, social/human geography or related social science discipline;
  • An inspiring vision on sustainable food provisioning in urban and metropolitan regions;
  • Considerable experience with agro-food research, proven by publications in key international journals, and preferably in the fields of food culture, alternative food networks, urban food strategies and/or public food procurement;
  • A relevant international network;
  • Good didactic qualities and the capacity to motivate students (candidates will be required to follow the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Programme (LTHEP, in Dutch referred to as BKO), a system adopted by all Dutch universities);
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Good management skills;
  • Fluent in English;
  • Preferably a proven record in acquisition of research projects;

To be considered for an Associate Professorship, substantial teaching experience, proven didactic qualities, publications in leading journals and a proven record in acquisition of research projects and supervision of PhD students are prerequisites.


We offer

A challenging career trajectory called Tenure Track. From the position of Assistant Professor or Associate Professor you can eventually grow into the position of a Professor holding a Personal Chair. Of course training and coaching are provided and interdisciplinary (international) cooperation is stimulated. You will also be given the chance to build up your own research line.

We offer you a temporary contract for three years (0.8 – 1.0 fte), which can lead to a permanent employment contract. Gross salary:

  • Assistant professor: from € 3227 to € 4418 (Scale 11 CAO Dutch Universities), based on full time (1,0 fte) employment and dependent on expertise and experience.
  • Associate professor: from € 4472 to € 5444 (Scale 13 CAO Dutch Universities), based on full time (1,0 fte) employment and dependent on expertise and experience.

For more information about Tenure Track within Wageningen UR look at


Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:

Prof. dr. ir J.S.C. Wiskerke, Chair of Rural Sociology Telephone number: +31 317 482679/4507 E-mail address:



To apply, please upload your letter of motivation and your CV, including a list of publications via the online application button on the Wageningen University vacancy webpage before June 17 2013. You will receive an automatic e-mail confirmation within 24 hours.

PUREFOOD Winter School in Barcelona

Press Release:

Building bridges: The PUREFOOD event “Beyond Divides: An International Winter School and Forum on Contemporary Agri-Food Issues” forges network, debate and learning

Barcelona, 12 to 22 November 2012

By Leah Ashe

The PUREFOOD Network and the Food and Nutrition Observatory of the University of Barcelona played host to the international winter school ‘Beyond Divides: An International Forum on Contemporary Agri-Food Issues”, held in Barcelona from the 12th through the 22nd of November, 2012. The event featured contributions of leading international scholars including Professors Patricia Allen (Marylhurst College, USA), Michael K. Goodman (King’s College, UK), James Kirwan (Countryside and Community Research Institute, UK) and Jesús Contreras (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain). With a mission of fomenting debate, exchange and collaboration, the forum featured various opportunities and learning formats, including thematic panels and roundtables on contemporary themes such as food justice, alternative food networks, food and nutrition security, tradition and innovation. Continue reading

Tasteful waste

Earlier this month, we had a fun food culture class on the topic of waste and edibility. The writing of Mary Douglas on Purity and Danger was useful in order to think about how the definition of ‘waste’ is in fact a social construction which depends on social relations and thus varies from context to context. We looked at the various stages in the cycle from production to consumption where ‘waste’ is created by some, but sometimes turned into food by others. Waste, or ‘dirt’ in the words of Mary Douglas, is ‘matter out of place’. For a thing to become out of place, there needs to be an order with normalities such as, when a food is beyond its expiration date in a supermarket it will be thrown away. Anomaly then is all that does not fit the order (or who order differently). Examples are gleaning practices on agricultural fields, food collection for food banks and dumpster diving in retail waste.

Continue reading

Hidden qualities of bean sprouts

What do oysters, chocolate, caviar, figs and champagne have in common? They are among the most famous food aphrodisiacs. From a Western (historical) perspective though. There are completely other aphrodisiacs. Be careful with bean sprouts for example. While sharing food and stories in the Food Culture class, we learnt it can bring you sons… Continue reading

Cola-chicken and slaughtherhouse meat

In this 6th period of the academic year, I run a second course on Food Culture with similar topics as the course in February but with other teaching methods. The group is smaller, the period is longer and we can thus engage with the literature in a different way. One of the assignments in the course is the Food Assignment, where we have twice a lunch together based on brought food by half of the student group. A few weeks ago we had the first lunch and I was surprised how interesting it turned out in terms of food culture in practice.


source:travelpod blog

One of the Chinese students came with a dish he claimed as common and even widespread made in China, which has also very strong regional cuisines. He presented chicken cooked in cola. Lots of us present were first unclear if he really meant, cola, the soft drink. Indeed, this is what he meant and we could clearly taste the cola in the chicken meat. When searching the internet I found numerous examples of chicken-cola recipes, such as this one. 

Our ignorance and thus astonishment about this dish, just turned into the next astonishment when the type of meat was discussed. This student used chicken drumsticks whereas he actually needed chicken wings. But he hadn’t been able to find these in the supermarket. The Vietnamese student replied that she always bought meat at the nearby slaughterhouse. Again, eyes widened, especially among the Dutch students. Was she referring to the butcher or indeed meaning the slaughterhouse?  After asserting there was no Babylonian confusion of tongues, we were curious as to where then, this slaughterhouse is located. It turned out to be a small slaughterhouse in Opheusden within 15 kilometers from Wageningen, where it was possible to buy specific qualities and cuts of meat if sufficient quantity was bought. Hence, the Vietnamese students organise a collective order every now and then. I had no idea.