Migration and Culinary Change

  • November 06, 2023
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Zoom virtual lecture

     Donna Gabaccia

Donna Gabaccia is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Toronto and a past Director of the Immigration History Research Centre at University of Minnesota.  She has written and edited many books and articles on Italian migrations around the world--notably Italy's Many Diasporas (1999) and From Sicily to Elizabeth Street (1984), on immigrant women, gender, class, labor, and foodways in the United States, including We Are What We Eat (1998), and on interdisciplinarity and periodization in Migration Studies. She is the general editor of a forthcoming two-volume Cambridge History of Global Migrations that covers the longue durĂ©e of human mobility.

Her book Foreign Relations: A Global History of American Immigration won the Theodore Saloutos Prize of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and Gender and International Migration (2015, co-authored with Katharine Donato) won an Honorable Mention from the Znaniecki and Thomas Book Award of the American Sociological Association. Gabaccia was president of the Social Science History Association.

Migration and Culinary Change

Donna Gabaccia's presentation will focus on how humans on the move have adapted their foodstuffs, food preferences, and culinary practices (such as food preservation and cooking) as they move from old homelands to new locations. Three case studies from the long history of human life on earth will be explored: 

1. How early humans became omnivores;

2. When foods travel without people -- with examples from the so-called "Columbian Exchange" that occurred between 1500 and 1800; 

3. The mass 19th-21st century migrations and the culinary transformations (and food fights over the meaning of "national cuisines")  that accompanied them.  

This event is part of the Fall 2023 Speaker series. 

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