Terrio, Susan J. 1950-

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TERRIO, Susan J. 1950-


Born November 24, 1950 in PA; daughter of Marvin (a civil engineer) and Helen (a teacher; maiden name, Millington) Hoy; married Stephen Terrio (a businessman), December 27, 1969; children: Kristin Terrio DeLeonardis, Stephanie Millington Singer. Education: Colby College, B.A. (cum laude with distinction in major), 1972; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (French civilization and applied linguistics), 1975; New York University, M.A. (French studies), 1987; New York University, Ph.D., 1987. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Theater, cooking, wine, riding.


Home—17401 Kirstin Ct., Olney, MD 20832. Office—ICC 417, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20047. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer and educator. Elizabethtown College, instructor in French, 1980-86; Georgetown University, visiting assistant professor of French, 1993-94, assistant professor of French civilization, adjunct assistant professor of anthropology, sociology department and Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, 1994—, associate professor of French, 2000—, associate professor of French and anthropology, department of French, Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, chair, culture and politics program, Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, 2001—.


Bayonne Académie du Chocolat, (France), American Ethnological Society, Society for Urban Anthropology, Association for French Cultural Studies, Society for the Anthropology of Europe, American Anthropology Association, Society for the Anthropology of Work, Council for European Studies, American Association of the Teachers of French.


John Frederick Steinman Award for Teaching Excellence, Elizabethtown College, 1985; New York University Fellowship, 1986-1988; French Government Study Fellowship, 1988-89; French Government Chateaubriand Research Fellowship, 1989-90; Social Science Research Council Dissertation Fellowship, 1990-91; National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Award, 1990-91; Georgetown University FLL summer research grant, 1995, 1996, and 1997; American Council of Learned Societies Travel Grant, 1996; Georgetown University Andrew Mellon Junior Faculty Fellowship, 1997; Georgetown College Award for Teaching Excellence, 2001; National Endowment of the Humanities summer research grant, 2001.


Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.

Contributor to journals, including American Ethnologist, Anthropological Quarterly, Comparative Literature Studies, American Anthropologist, and Comparative Studies in Society and History.

Referee for journals, including Anthropological Quarterly, 1997—, American Anthropologist, 1995—, Journal of Cultural Anthropology, 2002—, and Journal of Law and Social Inquiry, 2002—; book review editor for Anthropological Quarterly, 1997-2000.


Comparative study of treatment of juvenile delinquency in France and the United States.


The veneer of French chocolate may be luxurious and sweet, but beneath the dignified surface of the hand-made French chocolate industry are social and ethnographic truths darker than the richest confections. In her book, Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate, writer and anthropologist Susan J. Terrio critically examines the cultural, economic, geographic, and social aspects of the manufacture and sale of fine chocolates in the Bayonne region of France. Her "examination of entrepreneurship in the Bayonnais region serves as both narrative and metaphor for understanding artisanship and fieldwork in the context of modern cultural transformations," wrote Kristin Selinder in Geographical Review.

Despite the renaissance of cuisine, cognac, and pastries introduced to the world by the French, little attention has been paid to the history, development, and importance of chocolate houses to French society and food culture. In her book, Terrio "details this culture-defining artisanship in an attempt to separate myth from reality in the manufacture and sale of fine French chocolate," Selinder remarked.

Evolving from Terrio's doctoral thesis and based on five extended research visits conducted throughout the 1990s, Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate details the chocolate industry in Bayonne, in southwestern France, where superior hand-made chocolates have been created for generations. "On the surface, the life of the chocolatier may appear idyllic, marked by self-employment, family involvement, and success," Selinder remarked. However, the opposite is often true. Terrio's "detailed interviews with the owners of various chocolate houses and their workers show than one may expect protracted apprenticeships for little or no remuneration, long hours, demanding customers, scant opportunities for career advancement, little social standing, and few, if any, benefits."

As with other forms of French industry, "artisans have built highly structured organizations both to train workers and to regulate the craft trades," Selinder wrote. "Crucially, the domain of chocolate artisanship has traditionally been one of family and filial duty." Men are considered the most capable of actually making the chocolates, while women are expected to run the shops. "The hierarchical structure of the chocolate manufacturing houses is rigid and sexist," wrote a reviewer in Economist. In more recent times, "these family businesses employed salaried workers and in fact had little in common with romanticized workshops through employing sometimes as many as 50 workers," wrote Robert C. Ulin in French Politics, Culture, and Society. Relations between shop owners and workers were also sometimes strained; in some shops, salaried workers "referred to the owner as a singe (monkey), a metaphor that unfortunately is not unpacked by Terrio," Ulin commented.

As a writer, Terrio's motivations are her "career in research and university teaching" and her "interest in social and cultural processes," she told CA. Her influences are a variety of "social and cultural theorists and experiments in ethnographic writing." Her writing process itself, however, is "long, slow, & arduous," she told CA. She will "start with ideas, get them all out on paper, then sift, sort, develop," she said. "I write and rewrite; even as [an] academic author, style and story line [are] very important."

Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate, is "a fascinating account of the multiple historical connections and significations that are associated with chocolate making as perhaps illustrative of commodities more generally," Ulin wrote. "Terrio's book is an important contribution to the historical anthropology of Europe and the culture of late capitalism." Ulin concluded, "Terrio has written an outstanding ethnographic and historical account of the making of an elite commodity that is likely to interest readers with diverse intellectual interests."



Economist, October 21, 2000, "Culinary History-Black and Bitter," review of Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate, p. 99.

French Politics, Culture and Society, summer, 2001, Robert C. Ulin, review of Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate, p. 132.

Geographical Review, July, 2001, Kristin Selinder, review of Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate, pp. 608-610.


Susan J. Terrio Home Pagehttp://www.georgetown.edu/ (October 27, 2003).*