In this workshop, anthropologist María Elena García will facilitate a conversation about the cultural and colonial politics of gastronomy in Peru. More specifically, participants will explore Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez’s culinary work, including his emphasis on Peruvian biodiversity and his claims of ‘discovering,’ selecting, classifying, and transforming local, ‘unknown,’ Indigenous ingredients and knowledge into high-end global cuisine. Through a collective viewing of the Netflix show Chef’s Table’s episode about Martínez, and a discussion of García’s essay on Martínez and the “settler-colonial sublime,” we will critically explore how the skill and artistry of Peruvian chefs like Martínez work in tandem with a “gastropolitical complex” of political, cultural, and economic forces to obscure ongoing entanglements with coloniality.
María Elena García is a Professor in the Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington in Seattle. A Peruvian woman of Quechua ancestry, García received her PhD in Anthropology at Brown 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. A revised version of that book was published in Peru by the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos in 2008 as Los Desafíos de la Interculturalidad: educación, desarrollo, e identidades indígenas en el Perú. Her most recent book, Gastropolitics and the Specter of Race: Stories of Capital, Culture, and Coloniality in Peru (UC Press, 2021; winner of the Flora Tristán Prize for Best Book 2022, Peru Section, Latin American Studies Association), offers a critical exploration of Peru’s so-called gastronomic revolution, focusing on the intersections of race, species, and capital in that country. You can learn more about García's teaching and research here.
Please register using the EventBrite link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/annual-speaker-series-maria-elena-garcia-u-of-washington-seattle-tickets-204599682157