EATING OUT: FOOD AND THE PERFORMANCE OF TRANSNATIONAL IDENTITY
I am looking for co-presenters for an alternative session that I am proposing for the upcoming American Studies Association conference, which will take place in Oakland, California October 12-15, 2006. The theme for the 2006 ASA conference is “The United States from Inside and Out: Transnational American Studies.”
The session that I am proposing, "Eating Out: Food and the Performance of Transnational Identity" will focus upon the relationship between so-called “ethnic" food and transnational identity in America. Performance Studies approaches tend to support a theorization of food as being perceived acted upon and located in what Paul Connerton would describe as a “system of expectations.” According to Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, to perform is to do, to behave, to show. Food evokes a certain level of preconception, and does something to the consumer. What does food do in transnational American cultural life? The goal of this session is to explore this very issue.
Keying in on the more evocative and dynamic qualities of food, I would invite performance or workshop oriented proposals that consider a delectable buffet of ethnographic works, performances, gastronomic literature, art, films and/or television programs. Of special interest will be how food and foodways as cultural performances sustain, subvert, bind or bound various immigrant communities within American society.
Drawing from Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s theory of food as a performance medium, and Dwight Conquergood’s theory of dialogical performance, for my own presentation I will discuss and perform short excerpts from several texts in conversation with each other as a way of debunking the myth of the American Melting Pot. Focusing upon reviews of Iberian and Latin American restaurants in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, I will draw attention to how articulations (and misrepresentations) of Newark’s urban decline and renewal, coupled with popular discourses around the Ironbound’s thriving food culture construct the neighborhood as a bounded ethnic utopia, spatially and discursively separate from the city’s notorious legacy of post-industrial failure, political corruption, crime and racial violence enacted across a highly polarized Black-White divide.
Alternative sessions are essentially sessions without papers, and would include performances, workshops, multimedia presentations and dialogues. For a more detailed description of alternative sessions, please visit the ASA website: http://www.georgetown.edu/crossroads/AmericanStudiesAssn/annualmeeting/ASA2006/cfp2006.htm.
Artists, foodies, and graduate students are especially encouraged to submit a proposal.
Please email a brief (250 word) proposal and 1 page cv to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining this session NO LATER THAN January 10, 2005.
Lori Barcliff Baptista
Department of Performance Studies
1920 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-2240
847-491-3171 Email: email@example.com
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