RIT professor assembles wine anthropology research in new collection of essays

Book signing by co-editor Robert Ulin is Dec. 3

Follow Vienna McGrain on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

RIT professor Robert Ulin will host a signing of his latest collection of essays, Wine and Culture: Vineyard to Glass, on Dec. 3.

The holidays are approaching: gatherings with in-laws, crowded shopping malls, snow and ice, hampered travel. But for many, there is an elixir that makes it all bearable—wine.

Robert Ulin, professor of anthropology at Rochester Institute of Technology, has been studying wine for more than 30 years, but he decidedly leaves the quandary of red versus white to sommeliers. Essays written by leading anthropologists are the basis of Ulin’s latest book, Wine and Culture: Vineyard to Glass—co-edited by Rachel Black—which explores the cultural, social and historical conditions through which wine is produced and represented and shows how wine offers a window into cultural, social, political and economic issues throughout the world. Ulin will host a book signing 5–9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Pittsford Wine and Spirits, 3 Schoen Place, Pittsford, N.Y.

“Wine has long been and continues to be an important commodity that generates significant interest because of its commercial, symbolic, cultural and aesthetic value,” Ulin says. “Perhaps the most significant measure of interest in the consumption of wine is that it continues to rise with globalization, clever advertising and the proliferation of new winegrowing areas, such as China, to both cultivate and meet consumer demands.

“By comparison, anthropological research on wine as an exclusive topic of inquiry is scant over the past 20 years. This book addresses the importance of wine as a commodity but also links research on wine to a number of critical issues at the forefront of the social sciences and humanities. The essays in this book explore the invention of tradition, social class, globalization, gender and the uses of history and culture to support the quality and authenticity of wine.”

Ulin has also written Vintages and Traditions and numerous articles on the anthropology of wine and he is known for his work on hermeneutics, or the theory of text interpretation, critical theory and historical anthropology.

For more information on the book signing or Ulin’s research, contact Ulin at 585-475-3969 or rcugla@rit.edu.