The University of Alabama recently hosted “Multiple Inequalities in Every Meal: Theorizing Intersectional Foodways, Past and Present.” This interdisciplinary workshop assembled an international panel of food scholars from archaeology, cultural anthropology, American studies, women’s studies and African American studies to engage in discourse about the ways inequality was manufactured and maintained in the past and its lasting effect on the present.
“The Alabama Water Institute is honored to participate in this invitation-only panel to help scope and solve some of our toughest challenges related to food and water,” said Mike Fedoroff, AWI’s director of cultural and water resources preservation.
The workshop took place Oct. 28-30 at Hewson Hall and featured four discussion topics.
The first topic, “Setting the Table: Understanding the Complexities of Intersectionality,” examined the current state of intersectionality theory from both within and outside anthropology to explore how anthropological and archaeological theory can intervene. One of the major questions discussed included distinguishing societal hierarchies in intersectional frameworks.
The second, “Building an Intersectional Framework for the Archaeology of Food,” discussed how best to articulate an inclusive, yet operational, intersectional agenda that could bring to light marginalized narratives of history.
The third topic, “Intersectional Commensality, Premodern and Modern,” examined how intersectionality originated and whether the “premodern” and “modern” divide had empirical salience. Among this discussion was the question, how does the materiality of food itself, for example, sweetness, reinforce or break down intersectional social hierarchies?
Topic four, “Methodological Considerations in the Intersectional Archaeology of Food” intended to identify appropriate methodologies and lines of evidence that could potentially uncover intersectional dynamics in past social relations.