Re-thinking Street Food

Key information

6:15 PM to 9:00 PM
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre
Event type

About this event

Professor Krishnendu Ray (New York University)


Consideration of street food in the contemporary world draws attention to the cities of the Global South, where some of the most interesting food is from the street. This new focus can change the politics and poetics of good taste. It has the capacity to decolonize palatal and philosophical expectations of gastronomy that have come to dominate the field. And it also marks the transition from the twentieth-century welfare politics to an unchartered world of micro-entrepreneurship, risk and precarity in the twenty-first century. Based on a case study in Delhi, India I show how democracy works at the ground-level of the marketplace and suggest that rather than eliminating street vending, a better pathway to a livable city would be a nuanced balancing of the laws, which can account for livelihoods of poor people in the short- and the medium-run, along with the liveliness of cities for all, allowing a slow, fruitful traffic in life-sustaining activities on the street. The challenge is to find ways to integrate the life of the foot and pedal with the inanimately powered wheel in the last mile – which is what we call a neighborhood -- in a livable city.


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Re-thinking Street Food

Speaker Biography

Professor Krishnendu Ray is the Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. He was a faculty member and the Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at The Culinary Institute of America . He is the author of The Migrant’s Table (2004), The Ethnic Restaurateur (2016), and the co-editor of Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (2012). He is currently the President of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) .

Organiser: SOAS Food Studies Centre, Centres & Programmes Office

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893