James “Woody” Watson, Thursday April 20, 2017

“Culinary Nationalism: Fighting with Food”

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woody_headshotJames Watson was one of the first students to study Chinese at the University of Iowa, earning a B.A. in 1965, and received his Ph.D. in 1972 at UC Berkeley. He was, until his retirement in 2011, Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. He also taught at the  University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and the Universities of Pittsburgh, Hawaii, and Houston. Together with Dr. Rubie Watson, he has conducted anthropological research in Hong Kong’s New Territories since the late 1960s. His publications include Emigration and the Chinese Lineage, Kinship Organization in China, Death Ritual in Chinese Society, The Cultural Economy of Food and Eating, and Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia. The Watsons’ current project is a jointly authored book entitled The Last Colony: Everyday Life in British Hong Kong, 1898-1997.

In an ever globalizing world, food still operates today as a way of expressing cultural distinction and nationalism. Through globalization, distinct culinary practices are being shared and exchanged in an international market, competing against one another.  James Watson will discuss the idea of Culinary Nationalism including the impact of rice, the global anti-GMO food movement, as well as “American” fast foods and food conglomerates. He will also share his insight into the effect food globalization will have on countries like China. Will China “eat our lunch in respect to food globalization?”

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Filed under Arts & Culture, China & East Asia, Past Events, Spring 2017

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