Cari Borja

Anthropologist, clothesmaker, salonniere, writer, professor

Cari is a clothesmaker (2000-2022) and salonniere (2012-2022), 119 salon dinners after apprenticing at Chez Panisse), writer and educator who received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology and Film from UC Berkeley in 2001. She has a keen interest in cultural identity and otherness throughout her graduate work. Her M.A. thesis from School of Oriental and African Studies in London was entitled “Hollywood in Britain: America as Other” whilst her doctoral thesis “Jamaican Art Worlds: Encounters, Transformations, Metamorphoses” also analyzed the creation, documentation and consumption of identity. Cari’s expertise ranges from the arts (Guggenheim, MOMA, Stux Gallery, Collezione Peggy Guggenheim), food + wine and film worlds (having worked as an assistant to B. Ruby Rich, Tom Luddy /Telluride Film Festival, Peter Sellars), a practicing installation artist (De Young Museum, YBCA and ArtHotel Sacramento) and to her most recent work as an anthropologist at Apple.

Since 2017, Cari has worked on projects that ranged from the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple Park and Visitors Center for Apple University (2017), on Angela Ahrendts Today at Apple team, curating programming for Apple Union Square as well as other global retail initiatives, and most recently on Lisa Jackson’s Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives team to establish a tech and creativity grants pilot. Cari also creative directs a variety of galas and salons including She-Can Global in SF and NYC and Boston Review Magazine in the Bay Area, Glide Foundation in SF, and was a Visiting Artist at Oakland-based Creative Growth. She is on the boards of National Novel Writing Month and Creative Growth, and is a professor at California College of the Arts where she teaches “Design Ethnography” + “Since Feeling is First: the Search for Desire and Eros through Culture” in their MFA Design Program. She also teaches “Creating Built Worlds” each Spring in the Anthropology Department at San Jose State University. She is working as Chief of Staff to Alice Waters, focusing on the implementation of the Alice Waters Institute at UC Davis which is part of a larger 10- campus focus on procurement and school-supported agriculture. Cari’s most recent research focuses on the ambivalent role our earliest childhood food memories play in our relationship to what and when, with whom and where, how and why we eat.