Rethinking the Purpose of Work Through the Pleasures and Displeasures of Food


Farm Labor Union, Galena, Kansas, 1938, Arthur Rothstein (American, 1915-1985)This Working Group brings together a group of scholars from the humanities and humanistic social sciences who work at the intersection of food studies and labor to critically examine how food-related activities challenge categories and practices pertaining to labor such as service, profit, desire, pleasure, and leisure. Potential topics to be addressed include distinctions and relationships between work and leisure, work and voluntarism, economic capital and cultural capital, utilitarianism and aestheticism, and profit and pleasure. Conversations will be deliberately cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and transhistorical, and will engage both empirical and theoretical materials. Ultimately, the crossfertilization of these approaches will contribute new forms of scholarship, teaching, and mentoring.
Principal Investigator:

Melissa L. Caldwell (UC Santa Cruz)

Melissa L. Caldwell isĀ  Professor of Anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz, editor of Gastronomica, and Co-Director of the Multi-Campus Research Program on Studies of Food and the Body. Prof. Caldwell’s research interests include daily life in postsocialist Europe; Ethnography of Russia; changing social welfare systems, care work, ethics and practices of compassion; interfaith collaborations and faith-based assistance; changing food practices in late and postsocialist societies; nature, leisure, and the world of summer cottages and gardening; new modes of human rights and anti-discrimination practices in Russia; Russian-African relations.