Food Customs and Cultural Identities in Diaspora

[T]he connections between food, the self and one’s place in the world extend beyond the physical act of eating and the sensory experience it provides…as well as beyond the transmission of food knowledge within domestic settings. If food reminds us of who we are, it also reminds us of who we can be (and where and with whom).

-- Raúl Matta, Charles-Édouard de Suremain, and Chantal Crenn, "Introduction," Food Identities at Home and on the Move: Explorations at the Intersection of Food, Belonging and Dwelling

Food studies emerged in the 1970s as a new field that examines the relationship between food and human experience. The intersection of food and diaspora studies has recently attracted increasing academic interest for research and discussion. This trend is also reflected in the University of Illinois Library's collections, wherein books on this subject span across multiple disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, and literature. Most of the featured titles were published after 2010.

To highlight the key focus areas of these studies, we have divided this category into four sub-topics: "Food, Memory and Identity," "Food at Cultural Crossroads," "Immigrants & the American Foodscape," and "Gender Roles in Culinary Diasporic Writings." However, it's important to note that these sub-topics are closely interconnected. Also, much like a recipe encapsulates various aspects of a culture, many of the academic works featured here explore topics far beyond what their respective headings suggest. Collectively, they offer significant insights into how food connects people across different cultures, times, and spaces.


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