FALL 2021 HMR 130: Topics in Human Rights - "Radical Storywork: Performing Relational Approaches to Inuit Food Fermentation and Food Security"
- Co-taught by Dr. Jessica Bissett Perea (Native American Studies) and Dr. Maria Marco (Food Science and Technology)
- A project by the grant-funded "Radical and Relational Approaches to Fermentation and Food Sovereignty" research cluster
This course centers around Inuit knowledges and performing arts processes as a means to unsettle and expand dominant modes of knowledge production in food science research in ways that advances food sovereignty, an issue of urgent global significance.
It is framed by an analytic we call "Radical Storywork" which stems from two interrelated concepts. First, the critical explorations of storytelling in fermented food microbiology build on Cherokee scholar Eva Marie Garroutte's "Radical Indigenism"-a theoretical perspective that weaves together one's community's goals for health, survival, and growth with one's academic goals to generate new knowledge-and her call to realign the word "radical" with its Latin derivation radix, meaning "root". Through carefully curated course materials, students will learn how Inuit food fermentation practices exist in collaboration with nature (rather in control of) and how Inuit scientific knowledges demonstrate deeply rooted, or radical, relationships between human, environment, and more-than-human entities. Second, our privileging of Inuit performing arts processes (methodologies, theories, and praxes) highlight the power of what Stol:lo theorist Jo-ann Archibald calls “Indigenous storywork” and its role in the future of scientific research. For example, students will explore a range of non-fiction genres “ from academic and philosophical to artistic and embodied“ to consider what is gained and what is lost when certain knowledges are (or are not) performed in educational, cultural, and/or political spaces.
Our analyses of food sovereignty discourse and praxis are guided by the following questions: What is the significance of radical storywork in food science research? How are Inuit fermented foods represented across different non-fiction genres and how might we critically address issues such as sub/conscious bias? Whose stories matter and who decides? Instead of proposing singular truths or facts, this course invites students to consider the existence of multiple simultaneous truths, all of which are culturally constructed, performed, and in some cases politicized and policed.
For more information, please contact Professor Bissett Perea, jbperea at ucdavis.edu