Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Invited - Oral Presentation Session
How are racialized hierarchies reinforced and challenged in the identity-making of food creation and consumption? What does examining Peruvians’ relationship to food tell us about contemporary racial ethnoscapes in Peru? The centrality of food in Peruvians’ discussions of home and comfort, both in Peru and abroad, gains new significance when we critically examine how production and consumption of Peruvian dishes intersects with local and global hierarchies of power based on race, class, and gender. These hierarchies, traced and examined through Peruvians’ relationships to food, are embedded in complicated discussions of national identity and belonging. This paper draws on long-term research in Peru and with Peruvian migrants to examine--beyond individual feelings of comfort, nostalgia, or pride—the exclusionary politics of belonging and multilayered identities produced within Peruvians’ relationship to popular dishes and, significantly, to the people whom these foods ultimately represent. Focusing on Chinese-Peruvian and indigenous identities vis-à-vis urban white middle and upper class identities within and outside of the kitchen in Lima, the paper presents a partial genealogy of exclusion in the making and consumption of Peruvian national identities in contemporary Peru.