Biscuits Become Us with Lindsay Kelley

March 10, 2020 at 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Location:A700 Loeb Building
Audience:Anyone, Carleton Community, Current Students, Staff and Faculty
Contact Email:soc-anthro@carleton.ca

What exactly do we eat when we eat a biscuit? Thousands of years before biscuits could be purchased in packets from the grocery store, twice-baked breads circulated as military rations. When we eat biscuits, we digest their military ration predecessors with each mouthful. Working beside Devon Mihesuah’s assertion that a typical Western diet tolerates or even supports systems of colonial violence, Dr. Kelley wants to think about how hard tack and its biscuit and cookie cousins sit within international efforts to decolonize diets and foodways with an attempt to, as Linda Tuhiwai Smith urges, better understand ‘the reach of imperialism “into our heads”’, and Dr. Kelley adds, into our stomachs. Considering crackers, flatbread, cookies and biscuits more broadly, Dr. Kelley reflects on how these ubiquitous crackers make trade routes and colonial histories tangible. Eating war rations and their descendants every day in an untroubled way turns our snacks and meals into war reenactments. Dr. Kelley wonders what resistance feels and tastes like when eating these foods. Resistance means something other than not eating crackers, and something other than feeling bad while we eat crackers. Many of the intestinal networks formed within “the reach of imperialism” are pleasant, comforting, community-building, and nourishing. This talk dwells in that tension.

Working in the kitchen, Lindsay Kelley’s art practice and scholarship explore how the experience of eating changes when technologies are being eaten. Kelley is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Sydney in the faculty of Art & Design as well as Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, the School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in association with Sydney Environment Institute, the University of Sydney. She is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

This lecture is part of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology Colloquium Series.