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“Alternative Food Movement in China”

October 10, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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Weatherhead East Asian Institute Event

Please join us for a lecture with:

Caroline Merrifield (Ph.D., Anthropology, Yale University, 2018)

independent scholar

Moderated by:

Dorothy Ko, Professor of History

Barnard College


A huge component of Dr. Merrifield’s field research was studying food provisioning – she served as an informal apprentice to the head of procurement at a farm-to-table restaurant in Hangzhou. She will talk about the restaurant’s supplier network and foodshed within the larger context of the alternative food movement and the cultural politics of food in China. Why is food a potent site for social organizing? Why are food safety scandals so anxiety-producing – and why might food be occasioning new forms of social connection and solidarity? Finally, she will share her understanding of food as a method (rather than a topic/object); the sensory, affective, and material properties of food can afford unexpected insight into memory, history, and politics.


About the Speaker:

Caroline Merrifield received an MPhil and a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from Yale University, and an AB from Harvard College in Social Studies. Her research investigates food sourcing arrangements in China’s alternative food movement, which has emerged against a background of urgent public concern over food safety. In this research, food is a crucial site for investigating problems of moral consensus-making in a time of Chinese “moral crisis.” Caroline’s work engages with theories of kinship, moral economy, trust and risk, agrarian change and urbanization, taste and flavor, and the state. She is currently preparing a book manuscript based on her dissertation project, Eating Against the Grain in Late Socialist China.     


This is a Weatherhead East Asian Institute Lectures and Panels event.


No registration required.


October 10, 2019

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM


International Affairs Building, Room 918

420 West 118th Street


For press inquiries, please contact Ariana King ak4364@columbia.edu.


October 10, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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