The Evanescent: Tasting

Amy Trubek
University of Vermont

Brad Weiss
College of William & Mary

March 11, 2:30 - 5:00 PM
Room 56-114
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Rachel Black
Boston University

Steven Shapin
Harvard University

Heather Paxson

All seminar meetings are free and open to the public — no registration is required.

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Amy Trubek

Amy Trubek — Tasting and Attentiveness: Nature or Culture?

We eat and drink every day but how often do we taste? To taste is to pay attention to that moment when the (ostensibly) natural world enters into the human body. The sniff, the chew, the sip, the swallow. But how do we pay attention? This talk will explore “taste” as an aesthetic and physiological mediation between nature and culture by combining the sight, smell and taste of maple syrup and alpine cheeses.

Amy Trubek is a food anthropologist, Cordon Bleu-trained cook, and Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Vermont. She is the author of The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir (University of California, 2008).

Brad Weiss

Brad Weiss — In Tastes, Lost and Found

Much of the work of contemporary food activism, à la Slow Food and locavorism, is aimed at cultivating tastes. Taste, in this work, is characterized at once as a potent, embodied, perceptual capacity, and a narrative account of nostalgia, remembrance and tradition. This talk interrogates the intersection of sensibility and history manifest in current efforts to craft taste. The taste of "heritage breed" pork serves as an instructive icon in these projects.

Brad Weiss is Professor of Anthropology at the College of William & Mary. An editor of the Journal of Religion in Africa for over ten years, his work examines the production of value as a symbolic, embodied, and political economic process. Weiss is the author of The Making and Unmaking of the Haya Lived World: Consumption and Commoditization in Everyday Practice (Duke University Press 1996), Sacred Trees, Bitter Harvests: Globalizing Coffee in Northwest Tanzania (Heinemann 2003), and Street Dreams and Hip Hop Barbershops: Global Fantasy in Urban Tanzania (Indiana 2009).

This session of the Sensing the Unseen seminar is complete. Video of the session is available on our blog. A podcast of this session can be found here, or download MP3 files of this session from the links below: