​Indigeneity And Food: Politics, Transnationalism & Social Inclusion

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Indigeneity And Food: Politics, Transnationalism & Social Inclusion

Editor: Eric Olmedo & Rachel Chan Suet Kay
Publisher: UKM Press
ISBN: 9789672512141
Weight: 0.426kg
Pages: 283
Year: 2021
Price: RM40

Indigeneity and Food: Politics, Transnationalism & Social Inclusion takes you on a journey to fulfill this metaphysical quest, constantly oscillating between anxiety and bliss. The first part of the journey revisits the sources of our everyday food, starting with lush jungles yielding regenerative flora and wildlife, for which both its natural environment and gatekeepers are in dire need of protection. The transformational process of raw foodstuff in food manufacturing plants questions our social representations of authenticity and indigeneity: a Japanese case study gives us some insightful answers to the conditioning process-in all meanings of the term-indigenous foods. The journey continues with the great voyages of old, spanning from the classical era to Renaissance. The book investigates the lost Middle-eastern origins of the mythical hummus and takes us back to the time of the great spice race in the Malay archipelago, which contributed to the rise of creolized merchant communities.

The intriguing cuisine of these Peranakan communities is rigorously described in one of the chapters, while the transnational culinary ties between the Fujian province of China and the Chinese-Hokkien community in Malaysia are astutely scrutinized. Another of these great v great voyages leads us to India, where we learn more about Ayurveda, or "food as medicine", in the ancient belief system of Hindu India. More than a simple deciphering of ayurvedic food, the authors venture into conceptualizing the transaction of a Hindu-based cosmovision of food with the collective psyche of two Muslim yet multi-ethnic societal models such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Beyond nostalgia for origins lies the last layer that cements a sense of ontological security: a sense of belonging.

A sense of belonging can be unveiled during the everyday unpacking of an American meal-kit while buying street food in one's own neighborhood, or even on the occasion of consuming glamourous dishes in a hipster café. All these experiences question in different ways our own degree of food nationalism versus our appetite for social inclusion. The answer to the quest for ontological security through the magnifying lens of food and cuisine did not lie within the postcolonial and controversial concept of indigeneity. In contrast, the conditions for producing the alternate construct of food indigenousness might prove a much more rewarding scientific project. The foundations for such programmatic research are laid in the conclusion of this fascinating and multi-layered edited volume.

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