Pots, pens and 'eating out the body': Cuisine and the gendering of African nations

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Whether cooking in a pot in the back yard, or in a modern kitchen, African women have generally prepared food for their men. More recently, they have collated and written cookery books both in the West and in Africa so that the ruling elites, mostly all men, have been able to display their new ‘national cuisines’ on their states’ official websites. This article reviews how ‘national cuisines’ have emerged recently in parts of Africa and then examines how these emerging cuisines might contribute to the gendering of African nations. It will also contrast Western notions of ‘the slender body’ with some African notions, of ‘eating out the body’, building a respectable but large body to construct an ‘authentic physical masculinity’ on the one hand, and a healthy and fertile wife and mother on the other. The article investigates how this might be reflected in African national cuisines.

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... One can clearly see very conscious attempts are made to tell a complete and comprehensive story about the Japaneseness of the dish in these examples. In this regard, what emerges from Recipe set B resembles what Arjun Appadurai (1988) and Igor Cusack (2000Cusack ( , 2003Cusack ( , 2004 have found: a conscious attempt to define nationhood by utilising widely circulating discursive building blocks on the part of the creators. ...
... Reflecting this situation, there are not many studies on the role of the nation-state in nationalism that focus on the ways in which food is used. A handful of studies, including Arjun Appadurai's (1988) work and Igor Cusack's (2000Cusack's ( , 2003Cusack's ( , 2004, apply the conventional, top-down approach to nationalism to the evolution of national cuisine and illustrate the different social forces at work, as discussed in the Introduction to this volume. The lack of attention to the apparent mundane issues of food and diet in the conventional theories of nationalism is a lacuna this chapter and the following one attempt to address. ...
Exploring a much neglected area, the relationship between food and nationalism, this book examines a number of case studies at various levels of political analysis to show how useful the food and nationalism axis can be in the study of politics.
... One can clearly see very conscious attempts are made to tell a complete and comprehensive story about the Japaneseness of the dish in these examples. In this regard, what emerges from Recipe set B resembles what Arjun Appadurai (1988) and Igor Cusack (2000Cusack ( , 2003Cusack ( , 2004 have found: a conscious attempt to define nationhood by utilising widely circulating discursive building blocks on the part of the creators. ...
... Reflecting this situation, there are not many studies on the role of the nation-state in nationalism that focus on the ways in which food is used. A handful of studies, including Arjun Appadurai's (1988) work and Igor Cusack's (2000Cusack's ( , 2003Cusack's ( , 2004, apply the conventional, top-down approach to nationalism to the evolution of national cuisine and illustrate the different social forces at work, as discussed in the Introduction to this volume. The lack of attention to the apparent mundane issues of food and diet in the conventional theories of nationalism is a lacuna this chapter and the following one attempt to address. ...
The previous chapter has examined the important role food plays at the nation-state level and the ways in which the state uses food in its attempts to control, modernise and homogenise the nation. It also showcased the close relationship between the state’s domestic political, social and economic policies and its intervention in the nation’s diet. However, the relationship between food and nationalism and its importance to the nation-state extends far beyond the borders of the state. Food is not only used for domestic purposes and as an internal and banal symbol of the nation; it is also used internationally by the state in its diplomatic engagements and as a form of soft power, often referred to as gastrodiplomacy. In this regard, national food can be seen as exhibiting a duality; on the one hand, it can be used to indicate the attractiveness of the nation and increase its appeal, while, on the other hand, it can also be seen as a ‘contested medium of cultural politics that demarcates national boundaries and identities’ (DeSoucey, 2010: 433). This means that what is viewed as national food items or traditions can be used in branding and marketing the nation internationally, but this might also require state intervention and protection from foreign claims. In other words, national food is viewed by the state as a resource that can be utilised to accomplish a variety of aims but that also needs to be secured.
... In addition to new political institutions designed to minimise centrifugal tendancies, cultural manifestations of nation-building-anthems, Á ags, clothes, football teams, and musical icons-were also orchestrated from the centre. (Allman 2004;Apter 2005;Askew 2002;Barnard 2004;Burgess 2002;Cusack 2003;Ivaska 2002;Turino 2000). In a country such as Tanzania under Nyerere or Ghana under Nkrumah, this was part of a conscious effort to suppress allegiance to ethnic symbols. ...
... one of the disasters our continent has faced has been the political failure of nationalism. Because the nation has come to mean an urban, male, African elite and very often a particular tribal group that has assumed the identity of the nation and through that excluded just about everybody else. 2 Nation-building comprised a vocabulary, and sometimes a practice, of inclusion, but both implicitly and explicitly shaped assumptions about how members of the nation should live, behave and identify themselves (Cusack 2003;Ivaska 2002;Hansen 2004). It also carried within it exclusionary tendencies, which became more pronounced at times of political or economic crisis. ...
... Pengkajian tentang makanan dan pembentukan etnik turut juga dilakukan oleh Shuhirdy Mat Noor, Nurul Aisyah Zakaria, Nik Mohd Shahril, Hamizad Abd Hadi, & Mohd Salehuddin Mohd Zahari (2013, 29) yang mana makanan adalah kaya dengan simbolisme kerana ia adalah berkepentingan dalam kehidupan manusia di samping berperanan dalam adat dan tradisi serta budaya bagi sesebuah masyarakat. Selain itu terdapat juga kajian berhubung makanan dengan menyifatkan makanan sebagai jambatan ke dunia ekspresi, budaya dan penghasilan dalam masyarakat (Welch & Scarry (1995), Gutierrez & Ancelet, (1992), Freeman (2002), Cusack (2003), Gold (2007), Williams-Forson (2007) dan Quah (2009)). ...
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Manusia berkomunikasi bagi menyampaikan pesan sesama mereka. Komunikasi lisan dan bukan lisan bermatlamat menyampaikan pesan namun dalam konteks yang berbeza. Penggunaan pulut semangat yang merupakan elemen makanan dalam adat perkahwinan secara spesifiknya dalam tingkat adat persandingan masyarakat Melayu di Sekinchan Selangor mempunyai makna kepada pelaku dan juga masyarakat pengamalnya. Pulut Semangat disediakan semasa adat persandingan bukan tujuan hidangan tetapi mengiringi keberadaan bunga telur dipelaminan. Pulut semangat berwarna kuning dan penyediaannya adalah sama seperti pulut kuning. Perbezaannya ialah pulut kuning dihidangkan dalam suatu majlis atau adat tertentu seperti adat menyambut kelahiran. Pulut kuning jika dihidangkan dalam adat persandingan dan dijadikan sebagai salah satu juadah, dinamakan pulut kuning. Cara dan masa sajian pulut kuning membawa makna yang berbeza. Sehubungan itu kajian ini menganalisis makna pulut semangat dalam adat perkahwinan masyarakat Melayu dari sudut komunikasi bukan lisan. Pendekatan etnografi digunakan bagi mengumpul data kualitatif. Informan yang terlibat dalam pengumpulan data ialah tukang masak dan juga pengamal adat di kawasan kajian. Hasil analisis data kualitatif melalui temu bual mendalam dan pemerhatian turut serta menjelaskan makna pulut semangat dilihat secara menyeluruh daripada awal penyediaan sehingga ia diletakkan sebagai salah satu artifak dalam adat persandingan. Pemaknaan dari sudut komunikasi bukan lisan memberikan makna pulut semangat dari sudut cara penyediaan, sifat, bentuk dan warna. Makna yang diberikan oleh masyarakat Melayu terhadap pulut semangat dalam adat bersanding ialah kekuatan, kebesaran, keharmonian dan kekayaan.
... Many academic scholars argued that modernization, in a way, turns a traditional society into a modern society that involves changes and transformation (Charlton & Andreas, 2003;Cusack, 2003;Engerman, 2003). The modernization process is included in any transformation of social activities like trades, markets, education, health services, mass media, and complementary changes in society's demographic, economic, political, and cultural sectors (Charlton & Andreas, 2003). ...
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This paper qualitatively explores the transference process of the Malay traditional gastronomy knowledge and practices among three generations of women. The study’s respondents are ninety-six (96) women from thirty-two (32) sets of three family generations comprised of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. This study found that despite modernization and the abundance of convenience food products, the Malay traditional gastronomy knowledge and practices’ transference is still practised among the Malay generations. The pre-preparation processes, cooking processes, cooking skills, and eating decorum are the gastronomy knowledge and practices transferred through the generation. This paper highlights that mother remained the primary source of traditional gastronomy learning for the next generation.
... They bring meaning from one reality from the past into another and signal an individual's ethnic connections and competence (Kaplan, 1984). Many researchers refer to foodways as the connection between food-related behaviour and patterns of membership in a cultural community, group, society or nation (Cusack, 2003;Freeman, 2002;Gold, 2007;Gutierrez, 2012;Vu, 2008). Richards (2003) contended that foodways are the significant element in food identity formation not only for the society but also for a nation, particularly in a pluralistic society. ...
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Many countries have reported experiencing external pressures on their culture and tradition, which include losing their food heritage and identity. With that, Malaysia, as a multi-cultural country, is also giving greater concern in preserving its food heritage and identity. This paper empirically examined the public perception of food heritage determinants. Using Klang Valley as data collection setting, 676 respondents comprised of Malays, Chinese, Indian and others were surveyed. The collected data were analysed using the descriptive statistic, mean value and cross-tabulation analysis toward two age group (30-35 and >36 years old). Results revealed that in food heritage determinants which consisted of historical elements as well as practices and integration elements had presented positive perception with the majority of the respondents agreed on each attribute and were significantly different (p<0.05) between each age group. Few items under food characteristics and the value of uniqueness showed non-significant differences (p>0.05) when comparing the age group. This concludes that age group has impacted on some of the attributes which led to different opinion in regards to food heritage determinants.
... This study contributes, in various aspects, to the understanding of the ways in which ethnic groups develop oppositional consciousness. As opposed to the case of Africa, as beautifully demonstrated by Cusack (2003), where men are in charge of the modernization of African cooking, in their course of sustaining masculinity, Palestinian men mobilize the disrespect toward their food into a strategy for setting limits to the appropriation of Palestinian food into the popular Israeli culinary repertoire. Through their preoccupation with food and tradition, Palestinian men are able to intertwine breadwinning with the safeguarding of Palestinian culinary knowledge. ...
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This article examines the relationships between food and masculinity as experienced by Palestinian men, citizens of Israel. Their preoccupation with food reveals issues of masculinity and identity via two complementary streams. By defining domestic cooking as a feminine task, Palestinian men strengthen their domination over women. Conversely, in the public sphere, men use cooking as a means of breadwinning. Their cooking intertwines with issues of identity formation and relations of domination. As restaurateurs, Palestinian men refrain from serving domestic dishes. Thus, they show respect to Palestinian women and simultaneously preserve the traditional distinctions between home food and restaurant food. They view their upholding of their culinary knowledge as a major contribution to the limited appropriation of Palestinian food into the popular Jewish culinary repertoire. Consequently, they appear as the guardians of Palestinian cuisine and culture who prevent their diffusion into Israeli culinary common knowledge.
... Merriam- Webster dictionary defines foodways as eating habits and culinary practices of peoples, regions or historical periods. Many associate it as an act or behaviors which involved the preparation, presentation and consumption of food that are characterized by individuals and society [57, 19, 15, 10, 18, 59]. Counihan and Esterik [8] contended that the central role of foodways in humans' daily life and culture is far beyond an exploration of cooking and consumption. ...
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Solidarity and kinship has long been an intangible emblem to Malay community especially in the rural area. It is visibly seen through the dependability among each unit of the community either in religious and social events including the matrimonial or wedding. Nevertheless, the inevitable phenomenon, modernization legitimately alters every facets of human life not only the routines, traditions, rituals, norms but also to the daily activities and the specific occasion. Using triangulation approach of interview and self completed questionnaire this study empirically examine the level of alteration of Malays wedding foodways which relate to the preparation and consumption of it and its impact on the community social bonding. Some meaningful insights were obtained whereby modernization through technology (modern equipments) and social factors (education, migration, and high disposal income) significantly contribute to the alteration of wedding foodways from preparation up to consumption stages. The domino effect of this alteration consequently leads to the fragility of social kinship or somehow reduced cohesiveness and interaction among the individual of Malay society in the rural area.
By exploring the process through which a distinctive Taiwanese national cuisine was formed, particularly after 2000, this paper reveals that ethnic politics can play a crucial role in the framing of national cuisine, involving issues of social hierarchy and the dilemma of tradition and modernization. Through state banquets, local food festivals, and other means of promoting ethnic cuisines, local Taiwanese dishes and ethnic cuisines have become viable commodities in the marketplace, while the government has played an active role as a market agent in this process. Nevertheless, although traditional ethnic cuisines have been articulated as important symbols of ethnicity, the symbolic power of tradition has its limits. As social hierarchy is a crucial aspect in ethnic politics, and the degree of modernization has been shaped as the criterion of a higher social class, "tradition or modernization" becomes a choice between ethnicity and social status. The production and contestation of the hierarchies of ethnic cuisines in Taiwan thus involve not only the hierarchy of ethnic groups but also the forces of modernization and Westernization.
It is no secret that colonialism has left an indelible mark on the foodways of many West African nations. Imported products like wheat and rice now flood the market leaving traditional grains struggling to stay afloat. Bread, a holdover from colonial times, is more popular than ever, its demand now extending beyond the major coastal cities and into the rural interior. Even a Europeanized breakfast now reigns in the sub-Saharan lands that barely produce any of the products needed to concoct it. What is less evident is the role that taste played in transition from old to new staples, past to present preferences. Wielding taste, at times in the manner of weaponry, colonizers marginalized natives by their palates. Often deeming men less than human until they partook of European foods and punishing children for avidly savoring their own African heritage, they used foodways as a means of control. But the subjugated populace, too, used food as a means of control. Following dietary law and clinging to ritual meals, they were able to salvage an identity, in some ways defying colonialism. Looking at the specific case of French colonial rule in Senegal, this paper investigates these roles of taste in colonialism with the intent of further honing the existing research.
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As a group, the members of the Selection Committee were particularly impressed with the Beckwith and Baldez team's vision, attention to disciplinary coverage, and grounding in the international gender and politics network beyond the United States. The submission was also notable for its commitment to the mentoring of junior scholars in the profession, and for its willingness to encourage debate in the field. As reflected in the cv's of each member of the team, the Beckwith and Baldez submission was also outstanding because of its firm base in the APSA women's caucus and, of course, the Women and Politics Research Section. Finally, we were impressed with the plans outlined in this editorial team proposal to pursue an electronic submissions process.
The strong relationship between cuisine and the construction of identity is an important topic of social science research, but archaeologists have only recently examined African foodways in these terms. Presented here is an ethnoarchaeological study of culinary practices in the Tigray Region, highland Ethiopia. The article suggests that cuisine and its associated heat treatment technologies provide important material practices that track construction, continuity and change in social identities. The study is of interest to archaeologists investigating how identities persist in a location as a result of geographic isolation, elite politics and land tenure systems that promote strong regional and local affiliations. The study is relevant to archaeologists interested in the social history of highland Ethiopia because the approach advocated here may help to elucidate factors that produced distinct geographic distributions of pottery wares in Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite times.
All over Africa, food is mostly grown, cooked and served by women. Women have also been the main compilers of books on African cookery, both in Africa and beyond. This article explores the role of cookery books, written by both women and men, in the definition of national cuisines in Africa. It also considers the role of African men in culinary practices and the ways in which they have contributed to the formation of national cuisines. Cookery books written by African men tend to employ a scientific, ethnographic approach to defining national cuisines, while African chefs who have trained in Western hotels and restaurants have also contributed to the consolidation of African national cuisines by gathering and propagating recipes aimed at the cook in the Western kitchen.
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Abstract: Coffee is used among Oromo of West Wallaga as traditional medicine, food, and beverage. It is also a core part of almost every daily ritual practice in the society. The Oromo also link coffee traditions with traditional pottery technology. Presently the Oromo follow different religious denominations. Regardless of their religious background, the Oromo practice coffee ceremonies in the same manner, because it is a marker of their common ethnic identity. Traditionally the people believe that coffee is different from other plants because it grew out of the tears of Waqa (God). In this society, the coffee ceremony is a forum for social networking and it is where elders pass onto their children the norms and values of the society that sustain social identity of the group members.
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Traditional foods are proven to be part of the ethnic, society and country's heritage. To the Malays, Pulut Kuning is one of the traditional foods that are often prepared, practiced and associated with symbolism, custom and ritual for special occasions. The impact of modernization through various dimensions like education and lifestyles however are believed to have an impact to the beliefs and practices of Pulut Kuning in Malay feasts. This study qualitatively explains the impact of modernization (education, lifestyles) to the beliefs of Pulut Kuning as symbolism, ritual, custom and their level practices among the young generations. The understanding and the increasing knowledge on the Islamic teaching plays a major role in reducing the practices or the uses of Pulut Kuning in the superstitious and occult activities. Modernization through education and lifestyle on the other hand do not totally pushed away the norm or the beliefs and the practices of Pulut Kuning as symbol of gratitude's, appreciation, thankful in Malay occasions and it is still relevant despite slightly lessening the practices among the young generation.
The American culinary canon has greatly expanded in the last few decades to include many “foreign” cuisines from around the world. Americans now regularly consume cuisines that were once seen as “strange” or “exotic” and have become well versed with once obscure ingredients such as galangal root or ghee. This expansion of the American culinary canon has not, however, been universally inclusive. Despite the broadening of the American palate, Americans have shown little interest in the cuisines of Sub-Saharan Africa. This article examines how this lack of interest in African cuisines may lie in the limited and often stereotyped representations of African cuisines by food journalists and restaurant reviewers in newspapers and gourmet food magazines, which still play highly influential roles in the shaping of the American palate. The article also explores how a shift in the narrative on African cuisines in “gastronomic journalism” can contribute to the further broadening of the American culinary canon.
Conference Paper
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If cuisine develops at local level, include the inhabitants of local area, produce grown in particular area, their uses and way to use, preparation of meal by using local ingredients, serving of food in local style, eating, sharing of food in area bound way, etc. All the activities related to food of one particular area, group or community can be termed as cuisine. Same way food practices of any region are termed as regional cuisine, it not only confined to food, eating and serving but in all activities also include social and cultural norms of region. In continuation to study cuisine and regional cuisine, study focuses on national cuisine, any cuisine can be called as national cuisine, a large geographical and demographical setup , traditional and cultural practices of food, consumption, serving and sharing can be summarized in term 'National cuisine' only, requiring broader nomenclature to cover nations' cuisine, culture and food enjoyment with following gastronomical norms. This paper raises the question regarding understanding of cuisine, regional cuisine and national cuisine term, attempt to review and present these words in broader, specified and culturally sound way. The paper will also present food image in not only in tourist perspective but also in real gastronomic manners.
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This study explores the impact of technology advancement in Malaysian ethnic festival foodways and how it affects the practices of young generations. The informers involved three major ethnics groups (Malays, Chinese and Indian) in Klang Valley, Malaysia. The alteration eases the heavy burden or workload in preparation and consumption of festival food. It introduced the emergence of cooking equipments and new utensils. The traditional equipment used has gradually been overtaken by modern equipment. The preparation festival foods are becoming much faster, effective and efficient. Nevertheless, the alterations explicitly lessen the practices of foodways among the community members particularly the young generations.
This paper examines the activities of a peasant organization, which can be regarded as a partnership between the community and government, in agricultural credit and field expansion. It also describes the existence and transformation of the peasants' safety net, which appears to work against the activities of the peasant organization. First, it focuses on the measures to promote rice culture and the agricultural credit system that were implemented by the Senegalese government after the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Program. The government sought to develop the rice fields in the Senegal River Valley in an attempt to improve the nation's self-sufficiency in terms of the availability of rice and to resolve the trade shortages. Second, based on my field research in Village T in the Lower Senegal River Valley, the paper focuses on the mediation of agricultural credit and field exploitation that has been implemented by the peasant organization. In a credit repayment process, the peasant organization functions as a safety net against several risks that the peasants face: the peasants develop a credit repayment system into the safety net that is seen in other aspect of their daily life. Furthermore, through field exploitation and canal expansion, which is also managed by the peasant organization, the peasant organization has given new fields to younger men to cultivate. While a series of agricultural development initiatives has enhanced the economy of the village, it has reduced the requirement for the safety net on the part of the peasants.
My dissertation is grounded in a thick ethnography of restaurants as social and material sites in Prishtina, the capital of Kosova. I argue that Kosovar food culture is characterised by its peasant, Ottoman and socialist past. Yet, in the current phase of state-building, Kosovars are constantly seeking to appropriate different ideas, models and practices to construct, reproduce, negotiate and affirm their social and national identity. My ethnography is phenomenologically rooted and dialogically conducted as an embodied approach to the study of commensality, conviviality, sociality and performance in gastronomic ‘third places.’ I look at both spatial and placial aspects of the foodscape as materialised in restaurants. In chapter one, I focus on the Kosovar society in general and Kosovar food culture in particular. Here, I canvas a general foodview of Kosova with particular focus in its socialist past. Then I move to chapter two to discuss relevant literature in the anthropology of food, and my methodology. In chapter three, I focus on ‘banal gastronationalism’ and ‘culidiversity’ as produced, practiced and consumed in restaurants. I also argue that local tradition is represented in the process of appropriating, negotiating and performing culture. In chapter four, I analyse the ways in which ‘village’ food, ‘fast food’ and ‘our food’ have become objectifications of morality, modernity and ideology. This chapter provides a view of foodways, food ideologies, food movements and local coping strategies. In chapter five, I turn to discuss café culture. I argue that cafés play a crucial role in the formation, production, reproduction and exchange of identification capital, public sphere and community building. In the final chapter, I conclude by summarising my thesis and argue that anthropology of postsocialism may benefit from the study of food and restaurants.
Some contrasting views exist about the prospective benefits of contemporary food tourism for indigenous communities. Some commentators view food tourism as a potential mechanism for reducing tourist stereotyping, bias, and negative images. Increased economic opportunities, employment, and development are commonly cited as potential benefits. However, critics have viewed these same experiences as a colonial revival. An unquestioned assumption that the food traditions, dishes, and cuisines of (usually economically and culturally marginal) indigenous populations should be available and presented for consumption evokes the colonial legacy. These colonial type assumptions, images, and experiences are being challenged deliberately and in a targeted manner. An increasing number of indigenous communities, including the New Zealand Maori, have chosen to rearticulate and re-present their culture in the context of the postcolonial period. For contemporary indigenous people, the culinary cultural field is often wider than simply supplying the touristically "exotic" or "authentic." It may provide a location to engage with various strategies for indigenous self-determination and the reappropriation of cultural capital. Such strategies may lead to outcomes catering to culinary tourist demands. Tourists seeking out Maori food will have difficultly gaining access, except in the case of the Wharekai (the Maori social space and part of the Marae meeting complex). This research note considers the relationship between the postcolonial legacy, culinary tourism, and indigenous selfdetermination, as it applies to first nation peoples' foodways, and specifically to the Maori. In doing so, it may contribute to developing new perspectives on food tourism and indigenous self-determination.
This article will discuss how Welsh Muslims construct what a sense of place means to them through their cross-border mobility between England and Wales, and how this contributes to the ongoing re-construction of a plural understanding of nationhood in an era of diversity. To understand when and where being Welsh matters to Welsh Muslims, it will explore how mobility rather than being the antithesis of belonging, can be used as an essential tool in highlighting how perceptions of the nation, sub-state nation, home and place are influenced and understood.
This study entailed an empirical investigation of farmland utilization and cropping strategies under conditions of a sharp increase, followed by a collapse, in rice prices. The results are based on a fi eld survey conducted by the author in Village T in the Lower Senegal River Valley, the center of rice production in Senegal. This paper fi rst discusses the exploitation and rehabilitation of farmland under conditions of increased rice prices, along with agricultural programs of the Senegalese government. Increased rice prices and the implementation of programs allowed villagers to reinforce a foundation for their livelihoods through collective effort. Next, the paper describes farmland utilization and farming expenses under conditions of price increases and collapse and demonstrates how the villagers use rice as a subsistence crop and plant tomatoes as their main cash crop to ensure their own food security. The results reveal that the villagers have planned several alternatives and apply these options under specifi c political, economic, or social conditions.
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This article discusses how the concept of banal nationalism can enable theories of national identity to be related to the lives of ordinary people. It links this concept to three key areas, the body, food and the landscape arguing that these are as much 'flags of identity' as are the more obvious symbols of national belonging: coins, costumes, anthems and ceremonies. It further states that these flags provide a system of reference within which aspects of the material world are used, consumed and experienced. It is, therefore, important to consider how this system operates so that a better understanding can be gained into how a sense of belonging and identity is communicated and maintained.
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Whenever possible, the state, ruling élites and other actors in the postcolonial world have appropriated available cultural material such as literature, music or oral heritage and placed this into a basket labelled 'the national culture.' As part of this process, the emergence of national cuisines has been noted and explored by various writers outside Africa. A 'national cuisine' is often built by appropriating and assembling a variety of regional or ethnic recipes and often reflects long and complex culinary histories as well as domestic ideologies. This article examines how African states and other actors have been involved in such processes. Cookery books collating the national recipes have been published in Africa and the West. Alongside national anthems and flags, cuisine increasingly forms a significant part of the 'national culture' sections shown on official national web-sites. National dishes quietly 'flag' the nation as examples of 'banal nationalism.' Various actors in the West, and in particular African-Americans, have been complicit in the building of African national cuisines. In Equatorial Guinea, where the first indications of the emergence of a national cuisine can be identified, various bodies in the old colonial power ‐ Spain ‐ have been involved, as well as the ruling élite. Questions are raised as to how the emergence of African national cuisines might reflect particular colonial histories and how such contributions to the building of a 'national identity' might promote a gendered concept of the nation.
This article uses claims about the local globalization of culinary culture to stage an argument about the character of material cultural geographies and their spaces of identity practice. It approaches these geographies in two ways. First, it views foods not only as placed cultural artefacts, but also as dis-placed materials and practices, inhabiting many times and spaces which, far from being neatly bounded, bleed into and mutually constitute each other. Second, it considers the geographical knowledges, or understandings, of foods' geographies, mobilized within circuits of culinary culture, outlining their production through processes of commodity fetishism, and arguing for forms of critical intervention that work with the fetish rather than attempt to reach behind it.
Mexican writers of the twentieth century have often imagined cuisine to be a symbol of their national identity, a mestizo blend of Native American and Spanish influences. Salvador Novo, for example, a member of the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua and official chronicler of Mexico City, traced the beginnings of mestizaje to the “happy encounter” between corn tortillas and pork sausage that produced the first taco. The most common culinary metaphor for the Mexican nation was mole poblano (turkey in deep-brown sauce). Authors in the 1920s began attributing the origins of this dish to the convents of colonial Puebla, and in particular to Sor Andrea de la Asunción of the Dominican Santa Rosa cloister. About 1680 she supposedly combined seasonings from the Old World with chile peppers from the New in honor of Viceroy Tomás Antonio de la Cerda y Aragón. Mole thus represented Mexico’s “cosmic race,” created by divine inspiration and served up for the approval of the Spanish crown.
According to the author, the rhetoric of South African cuisine faces the same problems as discourses in many other areas of South African culture, except that it targets everyday practices of labor, distribution, and consumption: it encourages the marginalization of cultural differences by disavowing a history of oppression; it seeks to whitewash history by erasing it of conflict, wounding the cultural psyche by a refusal to remember.
Cookbooks, which usually belong to the humble literature of complex civilizations, tell unusual cultural tales. They combine the sturdy pragmatic virtues of all manuals with the vicarious pleasures of the literature of the senses. They reflect shifts in the boundaries of edibility, the proprieties of the culinary process, the logic of meals, the exigencies of the household budget, the vagaries of the market, and the structure of domestic ideologies. The existence of cookbooks presupposes not only some degree of literacy, but often an effort on the part of some variety of specialist to standardize the regime of the kitchen, to transmit culinary lore, and to publicize particular traditions guid- ing the journey of food from marketplace to kitchen to table. Insofar as cookbooks reflect the kind of technical and cultural elaboration we grace with the term cuisine, they are likely, as Jack Goody has recently argued, to be representations not only of structures of production and distribution and of social and cosmological schemes, but of class and hierarchy (1982). Their spread is an important sign of what Norbert Elias has called “the civilizing process” (1978). The increased interest of historians and anthropologists in cookbooks should therefore come as no surprise (Chang 1977; Cosman 1976; Khare 1976a, 1976b).
This article considers how nations are imagined and characterised in relation to the national roles allocated to women, with particular reference to the early Irish state. It examines two related dichotomies, that between ‘civic’ and ‘ethnic’ nationalisms, and the concept of the nation itself as ‘Janus-faced’, simultaneously looking ahead to the future and back to the past. It has been suggested that women bore the burden of the nation's ‘backward look’ towards a putative traditional rural past and an organic community, while men appropriated the nation's present and future. This thesis is examined with reference to Ireland and the representation of women in visual imagery and travel writing.
Editor's Note: R. Charli Carpenter's (2002) essay review titled "Gender Theory in World Politics: Contributions of a Non-Feminist Standpoint?" in a recent issue of the International Studies Review (ISR) was bound to spark debate. The title was well chosen and instantly provocative. Many readers would assume that gender is a synonym for women, that those concerned with gender would be women, and that they would perforce be feminists. How, then, could there be a "non-feminist" view of gender and, from such a perspective, what could gender possibly be? Moreover, feminism in international relations (IR)--whether or not coincident with 'feminist IR"-has itself been controversial from the beginning. The intense mix of political, methodological, and substantive debates that has resulted has led to productive relationships between IR and other disciplines, inward migrations into IR of scholars anxious to engage with international politics, and intellectually exciting rethinking within IR and its subfields. The ISR editors have kindly provided space, not for replies and responses to Carpenter's piece as such, but for a Forum that examines the issues that her essay review raised "out there" in the readership. Carpenter herself has been very engaged in debating the issues since publication and deserves an opportunity to report back about what she has heard and what she thinks now. Indeed, the ISR editors encouraged contributors to the Forum to circulate drafts among themselves, and readers will find that the contributors have taken the opportunity to agree and disagree with each other in ways that further deepen the discussion. To frame the agenda for the Forum, contributors were given a set of questions to consider These issues helped us get started; beyond that, we have all been free to take our thoughts where we like and where we variously think that readers should go. The questions are listed below. We urge readers to think about what their own views are and to reflect on the answers offered here and elsewhere as well as in their own work.
This study considers the central place occupied by food in Nigeria, using Igbo language and culture as focal point.
The "woman question," this book asserts, is a Western one, and not a proper lens for viewing African society. A work that rethinks gender as a Western construction, The Invention of Women offers a new way of understanding both Yoruban and Western cultures. Author Oyeronke Oyewumi reveals an ideology of biological determinism at the heart of Western social categories--the idea that biology provides the rationale for organizing the social world. And yet, she writes, the concept of "woman," central to this ideology and to Western gender discourses, simply did not exist in Yorubaland, where the body was not the basis of social roles. Oyewumi traces the misapplication of Western, body-oriented concepts of gender through the history of gender discourses in Yoruba studies. Her analysis shows the paradoxical nature of two fundamental assumptions of feminist theory: that gender is socially constructed and that the subordination of women is universal. The Invention of Women demonstrates, to the contrary, that gender was not constructed in old Yoruba society, and that social organization was determined by relative age. A meticulous historical and epistemological account of an African culture on its own terms, this book makes a persuasive argument for a cultural, context-dependent interpretation of social reality. It calls for a reconception of gender discourse and the categories on which such study relies. More than that, the book lays bare the hidden assumptions in the ways these different cultures think. A truly comparative sociology of an African culture and the Western tradition, it will change the way African studies and gender studies proceed. "OyewÃÂ&sup1;mi's book is a departure from the majority of feminist writers on Africa. She goes further to show a society almost unintelligible using the common set of presumptions in feminist literature about how society is organized. Her indignation is real and forceful and her research and lucid presentation admirable." Modern African Studies "Oyewumi's work is an extremely interesting study that forces readers to rethink some of the accepted notions of colonialism." National Women's Studies Association Journal Oyeronke Oyewumi is assistant professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
All nationalisms are gendered, all are invented, snd all are dangerousdangerous, not in Eric Hobsbawm's sense as having to be opposed, but in the sense of representing relations to political power and to the technologies of violence. Nationalism, as Ernest Gellner notes, invents nations where they do not exist, and most modern nations, despite their appeal to an august and immemorial past, are of recent invention (Gellner, 1964). Benedict Anderson warns, however, that Gellner tends to assimilate 'invention' to 'falsity' rather than to 'imagining' and 'creation'. Anderson, by contrast, views nations as 'imagined communities' in the sense that they are systems of cultural representation whereby people come to imagine a shared experience of identification with an extended community (Anderson, 1991: 6). As such, nations are not simply phantasmagoria of the mind, but are historical and institutional practices through which social difference is invented and performed. Nationalism becomes, as a result, radically constitutive of people's identities, through social contests that are frequently violent and always gendered. But if the invented nature of nationalism has found wide theoretical currency, explorations of the gendering of the national imaginary have been conspicuously paltry. All nations depend on powerful constructions of gender. Despite nationalisms' ideological investment in the idea of popular unity, nations have historically amounted to the sanctioned institutionalization of gender difference. No nation in the world gives women and men the same access to the rights and resources of the nation-state. Rather than expressing the flowering into time of the organic essence of a timeless people, nations are contested systems of cultural representation that limit and legitimize peoples' access to the resources of the nation-state. Yet with the notable exception of Frantz Fanon, male theorists have seldom felt moved to explore how nationalism is
The Art of African Cooking New York: Dell. Liade´ . 1999. Afrikanische Ku¨che
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All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present African Feminism. The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa
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