Tongyue Zhu

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

London School of Economics

Grant number

Gr. 10549

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Zhu, Tongyue (London School of Economics) "Refrigerated Dream: on food hoarding, memory, and good life in modern China"

The project was inspired by a freezer of my grandmother, who is in her eighties, never stops freezing meat and pasta in the fridge, even after filling the 200-litre freezing space; the frozen meat would not be consumed for a short time, but would be stocked for over a year. Intrigued by the obsession with food hoarding among Chinese families, Refrigerated Dream aims to interrogate the entwinement of memory and stocking, or how intimate memory (or forgetting) of famine and material scarcity, firmly governed and narrated by the state, could be preserved, inherited, and passed on to the next generation through private use of domestic appliances, such as refrigerator. Engaging writings on object-oriented ontology, embodied memory and good life, this research explores the possibility of materializing forgetting, and provides a vehicle for understanding object-oriented measures for remembrance when proper lexicon to articulate historical trauma was deprived of. Examining refrigerator and food stocking is not only about comprehending a habit of life, but also about understanding the routes in which food and a general sense of insecurity were produced systematically, particularly during the pandemic and other ‘states of emergency,’ and the means to avoid them.