248 episodes

Interviews with Food Writers about their New Books
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New Books in Food Marshall Poe

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 7 Ratings

Interviews with Food Writers about their New Books
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    William Wayne Farris, "A Bowl for a Coin: A Commodity History of Japanese Tea" (U Hawaii Press, 2019)

    William Wayne Farris, "A Bowl for a Coin: A Commodity History of Japanese Tea" (U Hawaii Press, 2019)

    A Bowl for a Coin: A Commodity History of Japanese Tea (U Hawaii Press, 2019) is the first book in any language to describe and analyze the history of all Japanese teas from the plant’s introduction to the archipelago around 750 to the present day. To understand the triumph of the tea plant in Japan, William Wayne Farris begins with its cultivation and goes on to describe the myriad ways in which the herb was processed into a palatable beverage, ultimately resulting in the wide variety of teas we enjoy today. Along the way, he traces in fascinating detail the shift in tea’s status from exotic gift item from China, tied to Heian (794–1185) court ritual and medicinal uses, to tax and commodity for exchange in the 1350s, to its complete nativization in Edo (1603–1868) art and literature and its eventual place on the table of every Japanese household. Farris maintains that the increasing sophistication of Japanese agriculture after 1350 is exemplified by tea farming, which became so advanced that Meiji (1868–1912) entrepreneurs were able to export significant amounts of Japanese tea to Euro-American markets. This in turn provided the much-needed foreign capital necessary to help secure Japan a place among the world’s industrialized nations. 
    Tea also had a hand in initiating Japan’s “industrious revolution”: From 1400, tea was being drunk in larger quantities by commoners as well as elites, and the stimulating, habit-forming beverage made it possible for laborers to apply handicraft skills in a meticulous, efficient, and prolonged manner. In addition to aiding in the protoindustrialization of Japan by 1800, tea had by that time become a central commodity in the formation of a burgeoning consumer society. The demand-pull of tea consumption necessitated even greater production into the postwar period—and this despite challenges posed to the industry by consumers’ growing taste for coffee. A Bowl for a Coin makes a convincing case for how tea—an age-old drink that continues to adapt itself to changing tastes in Japan and the world—can serve as a broad lens through which to view the development of Japanese society over many centuries.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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    • 50 min
    Jo Guldi, "The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights" (Yale UP, 2022)

    Jo Guldi, "The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights" (Yale UP, 2022)

    Jo Guldi tells the story of a global struggle to bring food, water, and shelter to all. Land is shown to be a central motor of politics in the twentieth century: the basis of movements for giving reparations to formerly colonized people, protests to limit the rent paid by urban tenants, intellectual battles among development analysts, and the capture of land by squatters taking matters into their own hands. The book describes the results of state-engineered “land reform” policies beginning in Ireland in 1881 until U.S.-led interests and the World Bank effectively killed them off in 1974.
    The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights (Yale UP, 2022) provides a definitive narrative of land redistribution alongside an unflinching critique of its failures, set against the background of the rise and fall of nationalism, communism, internationalism, information technology, and free-market economics. In considering how we could make the earth livable for all, she works out the important relationship between property ownership and justice on a changing planet.
    Jo Guldi is associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University, where she teaches courses on the history of Britain, the British Empire, modern development policy, and property law. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State and (with David Armitage) The History Manifesto and lives in Richardson, Texas. Twitter. Website.
    Brian Hamilton is Chair of the Department of History and Social Science at Deerfield Academy. Twitter. Website.
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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Paul Geary, "Experimental Dining: Performance, Experience and Ideology in Contemporary Creative Restaurants" (Intellect Books, 2022)

    Paul Geary, "Experimental Dining: Performance, Experience and Ideology in Contemporary Creative Restaurants" (Intellect Books, 2022)

    Dr. Paul Geary’s Experimental Dining: Performance, Experience and Ideology in Contemporary Creative Restaurants (Intellect, 2022) examines the work of four of the world’s leading creative restaurants: Noma, elBulli, The Fat Duck and Alinea.
    Using ideas from performance studies, cultural studies, philosophy and economics, Dr. Geary explores the creation of the dining experience as a form of multisensory performance. The book examines the construction of the world of the restaurants and their creative methods, the experience of dining and the broader ideological frames within which the work takes place. The book brings together ideas around food, philosophy, performance and cultural politics to offer an interdisciplinary understanding of the practice and experience of creative restaurants.
    The book interrogates the experience of the performances in and of these restaurants, with a particular focus on the entanglement of sensory, embodied, and reflective experience with the broader cultural and ideological discourses that both frame and produce those seemingly individual, personal and intimate encounters with the work.
    The author contends that the work of the experimental restaurant, while operating explicitly within an economy of experiences, is not absolutely determined by that political or economic context. Its practice has the potential to appeal to more than idle curiosity for novelty. It can be unsettling and revealing, provocative and evocative, personal and political, experimental and considered, thoughtful and sensual. Or in other words, that the food event can be art.
    This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.
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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Megan Birk, "The Fundamental Institution: Poverty, Social Welfare, and Agriculture in American Poor Farms" (U Illinois Press, 2022)

    Megan Birk, "The Fundamental Institution: Poverty, Social Welfare, and Agriculture in American Poor Farms" (U Illinois Press, 2022)

    By the early 1900s, the poor farm had become a ubiquitous part of America's social welfare system. Megan Birk's history of this foundational but forgotten institution focuses on the connection between agriculture, provisions for the disadvantaged, and the daily realities of life at poor farms. Conceived as an inexpensive way to provide care for the indigent, poor farms in fact attracted wards that ranged from abused wives and the elderly to orphans, the disabled, and disaster victims. Most people arrived unable rather than unwilling to work, some because of physical problems, others due to a lack of skills or because a changing labor market had left them behind. Birk blends the personal stories of participants with institutional histories to reveal a loose-knit system that provided a measure of care to everyone without an overarching philosophy of reform or rehabilitation. In-depth and innovative, The Fundamental Institution: Poverty, Social Welfare, and Agriculture in American Poor Farms (U Illinois Press, 2022) offers an overdue portrait of rural social welfare in the United States.
    Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
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    • 38 min
    Susanne A. Wengle, "Black Earth, White Bread: A Technopolitical History of Russian Agriculture and Food" (U Wisconsin Press, 2022)

    Susanne A. Wengle, "Black Earth, White Bread: A Technopolitical History of Russian Agriculture and Food" (U Wisconsin Press, 2022)

    In Black Earth, White Bread: A Technopolitical History of Russian Agriculture and Food (University of Wisconsin Press, 2022), Dr. Susanne A. Wengle shows how agrotechnology served—and undermined—Soviet and Russian political projects. “The book emphasises a tight connection between political change, technological change in food systems, and the transformation of everyday lives - a connection that we can grasp and understand through the lens of technopolitics.”
    Like all facets of daily life, the food that Russian farms produced and citizens ate—or, in some years, didn’t eat—underwent radical shifts in the century between the Bolshevik Revolution and Vladimir Putin’s presidency. The modernization of agriculture during this time is usually understood in terms of advances in farming methods. Dr. Susanne A. Wengle’s important interdisciplinary history of Russia’s agriculture and food systems, however, documents a far more complex story of the interactions between political policies, daily cultural practices, and technological improvements.
    “A central augment of this book is that politics and technologies together drive a change in food systems and that we should think of food systems as technopolitical regimes. Technopolitics refers to the support of and reliance on agricultural technologies - from tractors to CRISPR techniques - in policy regimes that seek to realise particular political goals and utopias. A technopolitical regime is forged by privileged agents of change and the technologies they employ to grow crops and raise animals.”
    Examining governance, production, consumption, nature, and the ensuing vulnerabilities of the agrifood system, Dr. Wengle reveals the intended and unintended consequences of Russian agricultural policies since 1917. Ultimately, Black Earth, White Bread calls attention to Russian technopolitics and how macro systems of government impact life on a daily, quotidian level. “Food systems can be a lens to track interactions between domains of life that are too often seen as discrete and disconnected, such as rural production and urban consumption. They can also tell us about the interactions between human realms and the nonhuman realms of crops, livestock, climate and soil conditions.”
    This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    María Elena García, "Gastropolitics and the Specter of Race: Stories of Capital, Culture, and Coloniality in Peru" (U California Press, 2021)

    María Elena García, "Gastropolitics and the Specter of Race: Stories of Capital, Culture, and Coloniality in Peru" (U California Press, 2021)

    In this episode of the New Books in Latin America Podcast, Kenneth Sánchez spoke with Maria Elena García about her wonderful new book Gastropolitics and the Spectre of Race: Stories of Capital, Culture, and Coloniality in Peru published in 2021 by the University of California Press.
    In recent years, Peru has transformed from a war-torn country to a global high-end culinary destination. Connecting chefs, state agencies, global capital, and Indigenous producers, this “gastronomic revolution” makes powerful claims: food unites Peruvians, dissolves racial antagonisms, and fuels development. Gastropolitics and the Specter of Race critically evaluates these claims and tracks the emergence of Peruvian gastropolitics, a biopolitical and aesthetic set of practices that reinscribe dominant racial and gendered orders. Through critical readings of high-end menus and ethnographic analysis of culinary festivals, guinea pig production, and national-branding campaigns, this work explores the intersections of race, species, and capital to reveal links between gastronomy and violence in Peru.
    María Elena García is an associate professor in the Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington in Seattle. García received her PhD in Anthropology at Brown University and has been a Mellon Fellow at Wesleyan University and Tufts University. Her first book, Making Indigenous Citizens: Identities, Development, and Multicultural Activism in Peru (Stanford, 2005) examined Indigenous and intercultural politics in Peru in the immediate aftermath of the war between Sendero Luminoso and the state.
    Kenneth Sanchez is a Peruvian journalist that works as a freelance journalist and as a multi-platform content curator for the Peruvian media outlet Comité de Lectura. He is a host of the New Books in Latin American Studies podcast and the movies & entertainment podcast Segundo Plano. He holds a master’s degree in Latin American Politics from University College London (UCL), is a Centre for Investigative Journalism masterclass alumni and is part of the 6th generation of Young Journalists of #LaRedLatam of Distintas Latitudes. He has won several awards including the prestigious Amnesty Media Award given out by Amnesty International UK.
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    • 1 hr 10 min

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Perk of Knowing the Author's Perspective

I teach a university course every semester on the history of human nutrition. My students have to write a book review, which some confuse with a book report despite my efforts but that's another matter, after reading a non-fiction book about the history of nutrition, food studies, sports studies, and other related disciplines. New Books in Food is great for my students and for me. I learn about recently released books, which I add to my students' list of possibilities for the book review, and my students get to spend time with the author(s) of the book they selected. This gives them insight regarding an author's intentions for a book, which can prove helpful when they are working on their assignment.

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