Jane Aiko Komori
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Santa Cruz, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10228
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleKomori, Jane (California, Santa Cruz, U. of) "Japanese Canadian Food Practices as Theories of the Settler Colony: Farming, Foraging, and Gardening in Western Canada in the 20th and 21st Centuries"
My dissertation investigates Japanese Canadian food practices, which emerged in the early 20th century, when Japanese immigrants began growing backyard gardens in British Columbia. Mass incarceration during the Second World War uprooted these budding food practices and the people who developed them. Nevertheless, today Japanese Canadians garden and forage for traditional foods and work in agricultural industries. Through participant observation and interviews with these foragers, gardeners, and farmers, I theorize how contemporary food practices respond to legacies of state racism by crafting spaces of home and belonging. However, by studying conditions of land, labor, and food production, I also consider the settler colonial history of the region, and I seek to elucidate the conflicted position of Japanese Canadians as both racialized, displaced people and settlers on stolen indigenous land. I am particularly concerned with how Japanese Canadians navigate the ethical conundrums inherent in their relationships to a natural environment that is being devastated by settler colonial resource extraction. By making an ethnographic study of food practices, I re-examine Japanese Canadian history and experience to contribute to studies of race, diaspora, and settler colonialism, which have profound political implications for building solidarities across marginalized groups in North America.