The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC Events

04-30 Food Studies Collective Presents: Works in Progress

The Food Studies Collective is an interdisciplinary group at the CUNY Graduate Center that invites students and faculty from all programs to share interests, ideas, and information about the social, political and environmental dynamics of food systems, food practices and cultures, food production and consumption, as well as food theory and pedagogy.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

room 5409

Light refreshments will be served!

Exploring Tradition Food Projects in North American Indigenous Communities: This presentation of a dissertation-in-progress begins with an overview of food system change and health, particularly among Native Americans. After a brief look at the history of these issues in Indian Country there will be a discussion of how Native American communities are returning to ancestral traditions to revitalize and reclaim control over their food systems, how these efforts are part of the larger food sovereignty movement and other food movements in the US, and how they connect with the global indigenous rights movement.

Ms. St. Pierre is a candidate for the DPH in Public Health at the Graduate Center. She recently began fieldwork for her dissertation in the area of traditional food and indigenous rights in North America. Her interests include indigenous rights, gender and public policy, community health and food systems, environmental justice, bioethics and impacts of trauma on community health. She has a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and a Master’s in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. Ms. St. Pierre received her undergraduate degree in Fine Art from Brown University.

About Tacos Night in Mexico City: Affective Experience and Thermoception in Everyday Eating: This paper (in progress) explores a latent empirical approach to the affective experience of everyday eating. The author opts to pay attention to thermoception as a ‘steady coordinate’ in the empirical tracking of the affective experience of eating. The paper describes the process of ‘prehension’ of three different sources of heat at stake in the street taquerias in Mexico City: ‘fire devices’ and out-body heat; molecular thermal regulation and in-body heat, and the spatio-temporal process of engagement with the atmosphere and the rite of eating in the street. Through the observation of snapshots at different points in the thermoception process, we can get closer to understanding the body as an ‘eater body’ passing through a process of transubstantiation, rather that as a subject ontologically defined. In addition the paper proposes anxiety as the last level of prehension of the thermoception process, anxiety is here the emergent ‘emotion’ at stake in everyday eating tacos experience.

Ali Lara has a PhD in Social Psychology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Department of Sociology of the Graduate Center, CUNY. His area of interest is affect and emotion studies and he is currently working on a set of papers addressing different aspects around the affective experience of eating and drinking. As usual in contemporary affect studies Ali’s work fluctuates among process philosophies (mostly Whitehead) and some expressions of so-called hard sciences (mostly molecular biology).

For additional information, or to join the group, contact us at