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MIT Professor to Give Public Lecture on ‘The Life of Cheese’ Sept. 16 at Hendrix

CONWAY, Ark. (September 3, 2019) – Heather Paxson, Ph.D., an expert on artisan cheese production in the U.S., will speak at Hendrix College Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, at 7 p.m. in Lecture Hall B of the Mills Center for Social Sciences.

Her talk, “The Life of Cheese: Searching for Value in an Artisanal Commodity,” is sponsored by the Charles S. and Lucile Esmon Shively Odyssey Professorship, and is free and open to the public. 

Paxson teaches courses on food, family, craft, ethnographic research, and the meaning of life at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is currently the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Anthropology and Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University and a B.A. from Haverford College.

After serving as area editor for the James Beard Award-winning Oxford Companion to Cheese, Paxson in 2018 began a five-year term as a co-editor of Cultural Anthropology, the peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association. 

Paxson studies how people craft a sense of themselves as moral beings in their everyday lives, especially through activities having to do with family and food. She is the author of two ethnographic monographs: Making Modern Mothers: Ethics and Family Planning in Urban Greece (University of California Press, 2004) and The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America (University of California Press, 2013), analyzing how craftwork has become a new source of cultural and economic value within American landscapes of production and consumption. Her current research concerns the practical and semiotic work of moving perishable foods across international borders. 

To learn more, contact Dr. Stacey Schwartzkopf, the Charles S. and Lucile Esmon Shively Odyssey Associate Professor of Anthropology, at

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit