A Living Thing, A Dying Thing — Contemporary Artisanal Cheese and the Politics of Taste
A dinner and tasting with Harry G. West
Date: Wednesday 2 April, 2014 18.30
Venue: Delfina Foundation
Recent years have witnessed the disappearance of many artisanal cheese-making traditions — but also a renaissance of traditional cheese-making practices and the emergence of a burgeoning market for artisanal and heritage foods. In these hand-made cheeses we can taste not only the natural ecologies in which these products are made and the historical and cultural traditions that have sustained them—we can also discern the political and economic regimes that situate their constant transformation.
Join us for a tasting of international artisanal cheeses selected and introduced by Harry G. West, director of the Food Studies Centre at SOAS, University of London. Professor West will consider these tastes in their cultural and political contexts, drawing upon his ethnographic research over the past decade among artisan cheese makers across Europe and beyond.
The tasting will be followed by a simple dinner featuring cured meats, salads, bread, wine… and cheese.
Harry G. West is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Food Studies Centre at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His books include Kupilikula: Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique () and Ethnographic Sorcery (2007). Professor West’s more recent research is in the anthropology of food. His current work, funded by the British Academy, focuses on how cheese-makers preserve and/or transform their practices while navigating a changing marketplace with an increasing interest in discourses of terroir and heritage. He is particularly focused on how they present themselves, their locales of production, and their productive traditions to consumers new and old.
Suggested donation toward banquet: £25.
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