School of Social and Political Science

Christine Knight

Job Title

Honorary and visiting staff


I grew up in Australia and studied English at the University of Adelaide. I moved into cultural studies of food for my PhD, which was supported by the Human Nutrition Division of CSIRO, Australia's national science agency. In 2008 I joined the University of Edinburgh as Policy Research Fellow at the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum, where I worked for 5 years. I then moved to Science, Technology & Innovation Studies, having secured a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in Medical Humanities (2013-17).

I am a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland, and a board member of the Association for the Study of Food & Society. I am a Visiting Research Fellow in the Food Values Research Group, University of Adelaide, and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health Sciences, Flinders University, South Australia.

I co-convened the Food Researchers in Edinburgh network (FRIED) for 3 years (2013-16), and previously served as Associate Director of Research (Knowledge Exchange & Impact) for the School of Social & Political Science.

Media, policy and public engagement

I have been interviewed on BBC, ABC (Australia) and Swiss Public Radio, by the Scotsman and Herald newspapers, and by Vogue magazine (Australia). The Daily Record, Courier, Times and Sun have also covered my research, along with Science and New Scientist online. I have written for various blogs and magazines, and responded to Scottish and UK Government consultations. I also give regular public talks about my research, including annually at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. For news updates, and details of upcoming talks and events, follow me on twitter @vegeknight.


Articles and chapters

C Knight (2016) “Negative stereotypes of the Scottish diet: A qualitative analysis of deep-fried Mars bar references in bestselling newspapers in Scotland, 2011-14.” Appetite 103: 369-376.

C Knight (2016) “Deep-frying the nation: Communicating about Scottish food and nutrition.” Food and Communication: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2015. Ed. M. McWilliams. Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books. 206-215.

C Knight (2015) “‘We can't go back a hundred million years’: Low-carbohydrate dieters' responses to nutritional primitivism.” Food, Culture & Society 18.3: 441-461.

C Knight (2015) “Vegetarianism.” Food Issues: An Encyclopedia. Ed. K Albala. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 1428-1433.

K Vogel & C Knight (2015) “Analytic outreach for intelligence: Insights from a workshop on emerging biotechnology threats.” Intelligence and National Security 30.4: 686-703.

C Knight & M Smith (2013) “The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.” New Genetics and Society 32.2: 107-118.

C Lightowler & C Knight (2013) “Sustaining knowledge exchange and research impact in the social sciences and humanities: Investing in knowledge broker roles in UK universities.” Evidence & Policy 9.3: 317-334.

C Knight & C Lyall (2013) “Knowledge brokers: The role of intermediaries in producing research impact.” Evidence & Policy 9.3: 309-316.

C Knight (2012) “‘When you do Atkins, you’re in an alliance with Mother Nature’: Natural food, health and morality in low-carbohydrate diet books.” Food & Foodways 20.2: 102-122.

C Knight (2012) “Indigenous nutrition research and the low-carbohydrate diet movement: Explaining obesity and diabetes in Protein Power.” Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies26.2: 289-301.

C Knight (2011) “‘Most people are simply not designed to eat pasta’: Evolutionary explanations for obesity in the low-carbohydrate diet movement.” Public Understanding of Science 20.5: 706-719.

C Knight (2011) “‘If you’re not allowed to have rice, what do you have with your curry?’: Nostalgia and tradition in low-carbohydrate diet discourse and practice.” Sociological Research Online 16.2.

C Knight & M Smith (2011) “The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008: A multidisciplinary workshop.” SCRIPTed: A Journal of Law, Technology & Society 8.1.

C Knight & C Lightowler (2010) “Reflections of ‘knowledge exchange professionals’ in the social sciences: Emerging opportunities and challenges for university-based knowledge brokers.” Evidence & Policy 6.4: 543-556.

C Knight (2006) “Nostalgia and authenticity in low-carbohydrate dieting.” In Authenticity in the Kitchen: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2005. Ed. R Hosking. Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books. 272-282. (Sophie Coe Prize for Food History)

C Knight (2006) “Ada’s piano-playing in Jane Campion’s The Piano: Genteel accomplishment or Romantic self-expression?” Australian Feminist Studies 21.49: 23-34.

C Knight (2005) “‘The food nature intended you to eat’: Low-carbohydrate diets and primitivist philosophy.” In The Atkins Diet and Philosophy. Ed. L Heldke, K Mommer & C Pineo. Chicago: Open Court. 43-56.

Edited collections

C Knight & C Lyall, eds (2013) Knowledge brokers in the social sciences. Special issue of Evidence & Policy 9.3.

C Knight & M Smith, eds (2013) The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Special issue of New Genetics and Society 32.2.

Research interests

Research interests

My research explores contemporary food culture, focusing on nutrition and dietary advice. I am especially interested in popular nutrition discourses, and the relationship between dietary discourse, practice, and identity. My ongoing Wellcome Trust project is investigating the history of the negative stereotype of the Scottish diet, which is often associated with unhealthy, deep-fried foods such as the notorious deep-fried Mars Bar. Previously, my PhD examined the low-carbohydrate diet trend of the 1990s and 2000s. I am currently developing new research on contemporary vegetarianism.

In my postdoctoral role at the Genomics Forum I completed several smaller projects on the broad relationship between science, medicine, culture and policy. These included research on knowledge exchange and "knowledge brokers" in the social sciences, and the regulation of assisted reproductive technologies and embryo research.