Katherine L. Chiou

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. CONF-860

Approve Date

February 1, 2021

Project Title

Chiou, Katherine (Alabama, Tuscaloosa, U. of) "Multiple Inequalities in Every Meal: Theorizing Intersectional Foodways, Past and Present"

Archaeologists have historically studied identity by compartmentalizing its constituent parts, treating race, gender, class, age, ethnicity, ability, religion, and sexuality as separable, additive units. Intersectional scholarship, however, underlines the importance of understanding the complex, fluid, and situational interplay of the multiple dimensions of identity that people inhabit, especially for researchers interested in inequality through space and time. Since its introduction in 1989, intersectionality has been applied to diverse contexts outside of archaeology. Given the intimate relationship between food and identity as well as the numerous ways in which commensal practices reproduce society, intersectionality has the potential to revolutionize the archaeology of food. This proposed workshop assembles an international panel of 17 food scholars from archaeology, cultural anthropology, American studies, women’s studies, and African American studies to begin an intensive dialogue. Throughout the three-day workshop, we will discuss (1) the formulation(s) of intersectionality theory appropriate for the study of commensality, (2) the innovative insights that can be gained by explicitly examining the intersection of two or more dimensions of social life in commensal practices, and finally, (3) the methodological challenges surrounding the visibility of intersectionality in the archaeological record. By developing approaches to intersectional commensality in archaeology, this workshop will advance scholarship and uncover narratives that challenge conventional wisdom about how inequality and difference were created and maintained in the past.