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SOAS Food Studies Centre

Culinary Colonialism and the Frontiers of Russian Food Cultures

Red Square - Melissa L. Caldwell lecture on 20.03.14

Red Square

Professor Melissa L. Caldwell (University of California)

Date: 20 March 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 20 March 2014Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: Kamran Djam Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

Series: SOAS Food Studies Centre Distinguished Lectures


Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Russia has historically been a key node in the circulation of food cultures between East and West, South and North. Consequently, Russian culinary practices represent an intriguing diversity that encompasses “traditional” and “peasant” foods alongside French confectionary styles, Korean dishes, and Central Asian dumplings. This culinary diversity reflects intentional state-making projects of colonialism in which the nation-state discovered and incorporated territories, peoples, and foods into a homogenous “Russian” culture.

Speaker's Biography

Melissa L. Caldwell is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Co-Director of the UC Multi-Campus Research Program on Studies of Food and the Body, and Editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies. Her research, writing, and teaching focus on the role of food in political processes in Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe. She has written on food nationalism, culinary tourism, gardening and natural foods, and the social experience of hunger and food assistance. Her new research examines creativity in light of the shifting terrain of science and art in food, with particular attention to molecular gastronomy and food hacking. She is the author of Dacha Idylls: Living Organically in Russia’s Countryside (University of California Press 2011) and Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia (University of California Press 2004), editor of Food & Everyday Life in the Postsocialist World (Indiana University Press 2009), and co-editor with James L. Watson of The Cultural Politics of Food and Eating (Blackwell 2004) and co-editor with Yuson Jung and Jakob Klein of Ethical Eating in the Postsocialist and Socialist World (University of California Press, In Press).


The event is free and open to the public.  We encourage you to register to guarantee a place.

Online Registration

Contact email: centres@soas.ac.uk

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