Scientific Director / Professor of Anthropology
Cristina Grasseni works on several connected topics in economic, political and visual anthropology.
Cristina Grasseni's latest book, The Heritage Arena (2017) unravels the political agency of heritage cheese in the reinvention of local economies and ecology in the Alps. Beyond Alternative Food Networks (2013) analysed Italy's solidarity economy networks as ethnographic models of grassroots transition to sustainable consumption and food sovereignty.
Grasseni's comparative ethnography of Solidarity Economies in Italy and Massachusetts was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (2013-2014). She is known for the 'Skilled Visions' approach to visual ethnography and was Logie Fellow and Film Study Center Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2011/12).
Visiting Scholar at Harvard Anthropology Department (2012-14), she is co-founder of CORES LAB (Research Group on Networks and Practices of Sustainable Economy).
Among her other works: Developing Skill, Developing Vision. Practices of Locality in an Alpine Community (2009, rev. and transl. from Lo sguardo della mano, 2003); Skilled Visions. Between Apprenticeship and Standards (ed., 2007). In Italian: The monographs Luoghi Comuni. (2009), La Reinvenzione del Cibo (2007) and Pratiche e Cognizione (2004, with F. Ronzon) and the Italian translation of Tim Ingold's Ecologia della Cultura (2001) with F. Ronzon.
Grasseni received her BA in Philosophy, MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science, and PhD in Social Anthropology with Visual Media from the universities of Pavia, Cambridge and Manchester.
Grasseni’s interests lie broadly in economic, political and visual anthropology, focusing on: solidarity economies, sustainability and social contestation (Beyond Alternative Food Networks, 2013); food heritage (The Heritage Arena, 2017) and visual and sensory ethnography (Digital Visual Engagements, special issue of Anthrovision.revues.org, 2014).
Through the communities of research CORES LAB and the Community Economies Collective, fieldwork collaborations have ensued with grassroots networks in Lombardy and Massachusetts. Among the research outcomes is the first systematic survey of Solidarity Purchase Groups in Lombardy.
Grasseni is currently writing up her most recent fieldwork on ‘ecologies of belonging’ and ‘solidarity economies’ (funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research), about the local food movement in the Boston Area and the Solidarity and Green economy networks and alliances in Massachusetts.
ERC Consolidator grant
Grasseni ’s awarded ERC Consolidator grant (2017-2022) (Food citizens? Collective food procurement in European cities: solidarity and diversity, skills and scale) examines the different types, premises and consequences of collective forms of food production, distribution and consumption in 3 European cities (Rotterdam, Turin and Gdańsk), with respect to cultural understandings of active citizenship and practices of participation.
Other research projects
- The Skills of Food. Future Food Focus Area Seed Grant, Utrecht University (2015/16), with B. Meyer
- Seeds of Trust. A Comparative Analysis of Solidarity Economy Networks. Wenner-Gren Foundation Grant 8643 (2013/14)
- Patrimonialization and redefinition of rurality. University of Barcelona/ Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (2012/14), PI: X. Roige
- The Reinvention of Food. Exploratory Seminar. Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2013), with H. Paxson.
Skilled Vision. Critical Ecologies of Belonging. RIAS and Film Study Center Fellowship, Harvard (2011/12)
Press & videos
Keynote, Groente Tas student conference Future Food (17 February 2016); Interview on RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) RESAGORA EU project (Governance Framework for RRI) (7 July 2015); Article in DUB magazine. Cristina Grasseni and her Groentetas (8 Dec 2015); Roundtable: Who Needs Visual Anthropology? (16 June 2015), Part of: Cineblend: 25 Years of Beeld voor Beeld, De Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam (February 15, 2015); UC Berkeley Conference Seeing/ Knowing: Vision, Knowledge, Cognition, and Aesthetics, Minerva Foundation: Skilled Visions: Ecologies of Belonging and Sensorial Apprenticeship (September 2014).
- Coco Kanters (Citizenship and the institutionalisation of community currencies in Europe)
- Vinzenz Baumer Escobar (Circuits of Commerce and Circuits of Power in the Dual Economy. An Anthropological Perspective on Community Currencies in Catalonia)
Among topics covered by supervised PhDs are: community currencies, participatory guarantee systems (Silvia Contessi, Ph.D. 2015); the Transition movement (Alberto Parovel, Ph.D. 2016) and ecomuseums (Oscar Biffi, Ph.D. 2014).
For publications before 2017, please consult the CV. For publications from 2017, please consult the Publications tab.
- CORES (Consumption Networks & Practices of Sustainable Economies)
- Beyond Alternative Food Networks - Cristina Grasseni (book)
- Radcliffe-Harvard Film Study Center project: Skilled Vision
- The Heritage Arena - Cristina Grasseni (book)