Stephanie Assmann, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Promoting Culinary Heritage: The Food Education Campaign in Japan

In 2005, the Fundamental Law on Food Education (shokuiku kihon-hō) was enacted in Japan in response to a rise of lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity. These health problems were linked to the persistence of unbalanced nutritional patterns including frequent snacking and the consumption of fast food and ready-made meals. The enactment of this law was followed by a nationwide food education campaign – termed shokuiku campaign – in collaboration with the ministerial bureaucracy and a number of food-related NGOs as supporters. Domestically, balanced eating habits are associated with the quest for a return to a culinary heritage which includes an emphasis on rice, Japan’s major staple food. Transnationally, the Japanese state conveys an image of an elaborate haute cuisine and promotes foods such as sushi and tempura that are internationally recognized as refined Japanese foods. Thus, the aims of the shokuiku campaign are twofold. This paper describes how the Japanese state applies a nationalist food education initiative in order to contain the realities of Japanese culinary globalization on the ground through advocating „tradition“, while it simultaneously tries to gain recognition for a kind of pristine Japanese cuisine globally.

Daniel E. Bender, University of Toronto

Drinking Scorpions at Trader Vic’s: Polynesian Parties, Caribbean Rum, Chinese Cooks, and American Tourists

This paper examines the remarkable popularity of so-called Polynesian food and tropical themed restaurants in the 1950s and 1960s, the era of Asian nationalism and decolonization. The career of Victor Bergeron, his Trader Vic Restaurants (then some of the highest grossing restaurants in the world), and their relationship to Hilton Hotels, reveal the contours of a Cold War vision of touristic leisure that linked Asia and the Caribbean. Trader Vic’s grew with the spread of postwar tourism. Trader Vic, with his focus on Polynesian idylls and Caribbean pirate tall tales invented a fantasy perfect for the Cold War, even as he set up shop in colonial capitals and former colonies, he substituted the tiki cocktail craze for colonial clubs. As rum concoctions superseded gin mixes, he presented a Asian, Pacific, and Caribbean tropics free of the immediate colonial past. Like the American empire, itself, Trader Vic’s blended the Caribbean with the Pacific in food cooked exclusively by Chinese cooks based on recipes lifted from Chinese-American restaurants. Hotels and Trader Vic’s were the perfect pair. The tourism promoted by the hotels opened up Americans to a postcolonial, non-Communist Asia and the Pacific.

Rachel Berger, Concordia University

Fake Foods, Real Struggles: Culinary Nationalism in Interwar India

This paper explores genealogies of food, taste, nutrition and questions of governance in India through attempts to regulate the production and sale of ghee (clarified butter and its mimetic others) in interwar India. It takes as a starting point the ‘ghee wars’ of 1927-9, when Punjab Province pushed to regulate the production of ghee alternatives so as to ensure the quality of the products on offer and regulate the trade in mass-produced food commodities. The idea of food regulation was itself a very new, introduced with the various health acts ratified by the provinces of India in the 1910s and 1920s, but never implemented. As such, the possibility of a reflexive regulatory system brought to the fore a series of questions about the role of the Raj and the power of provincial governance as interwar structures of governance in India took hold: what was the responsibility of the provincial government vis the private lives of the citizen – and especially regarding their embodiment? Was it possible for provincial governments to even attempt to account for – much less regulate – the vast expanse of food production? How could taste and desire be gauged in rational terms, and how could authenticity and fraudulence be measured? What measures of surveillance and discipline could be effectively applied? Finally, and most importunately: could food be governed? This paper uses these questions to examine the unusual debates about clarified butter, its forgeries, and the context of interwar citizenship.

Michelle E. Bloom, University of California, Riverside

Eating to Live: Nourishing the Body and Feeding the Spirit in the Films of Tsai Ming-liang

Malaysian born Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang focuses on bodily functions in his films, be it urination, sex or eating. In Tsai’s diegetic worlds, humans rarely engage in dialogue and shots minimize spectacle and aesthetic beauty, instead focusing on the everyday. His films also diminish national specificity, and especially that of urban spaces. In such a context, cuisine not surprisingly cedes to food. Indeed, in Stray Dogs (Jiao you, 2013), homeless characters eat whatever is available to them for nourishment, to feed their bodies, for survival. In What Time is it There? (Ni neibian jidian, 2001), food is served not only to the living, but also to the dead. In the context of Buddhism, it is offered and displayed, but not eaten. In both films, Tsai avoids the representation of ingredients and preparation that characterize “food films” and their portrayal of food as a source of pleasure. Instead, he emphasizes food as sustenance in the later film and the spiritual dimensions of food presentation in the earlier one. Like Tsai’s cinematic oeuvre, his conception of food is inflected with the techniques and styles of his adoptive country as it resonates with other Asian culinary traditions, clashes with European and specifically French foodways, and yet defies national (or other) specificity.

Yu-jen Chen, National Taiwan Normal University

Co-Author: Pin-tsang Tseng, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica

The Formation of “National Cuisine”: The Grand Hotel and State Banquets during the Post-War Taiwan

The Grand Hotel (Yuanshan Dafandian) built in 1952 had been a landmark of the Republic of China (ROC). Although belonging to a non-profit foundation, the establishment of the Grand Hotel enjoyed strong support of the government under the eye of Madam Chiang Kai-shek. As its main task was to host state banquets and to accommodate foreign dignitaries during their stays in Taiwan, it was controlled by the Nationalist government, particularly by the Chiang family. In this context, the “Chinese-ness” of the Grand Hotel is remarkable.

This paper analyzes how the “Chinese-ness” was embodied in the building and representation of the Grand Hotel during the post-war period under the authoritarian regime, mainly during the 1950s and 1960s. By examining the architectural design, specific cuisines served in state banquets, and its image presented in native and international media, this paper argues that the Grand Hotel was deferred to consolidate the characteristics of Chinese-ness emphasized by the Nationalist government against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the Mainland. In addition, as the site of the Grand Hotel was originally where the highest ranking Japanese Shinto shrine “Taiwan Grand Shrine” built during the Japanese colonial period, the building of Grand Hotel manifested its symbolic significance in the political transformation. By analyzing the shift in both material and symbolic levels, it demonstrates how nationhood could be embodied and maintained in banquets and gastrodiplomatic activities.

Sidney C. H. Cheung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Redefining Regional Huaiyang Cuisine: From Spicy Crayfish to Country-style Dishes in China

Chinese regional cuisines have their own developments in terms of tastes and styles of presentations and have been commonly classified into four major geographical types: eastern, western, northern and southern. The northern cuisine, which is famous for its cooking skills, is represented by the early establishment of the Shangdong cuisine which influenced the Imperial Court cuisine as well as the later Beijing cuisine; western cuisine is represented by Sichuan cuisine, which is hot and spicy; eastern cuisine, which emphasizes cutting skills, is represented by the Huaiyang cuisine in Jiangsu area; and southern cuisine is represented by the Guangdong cuisine, with an emphasis upon freshness. In this paper, I will examine the emergence of a special spicy crayfish dish and several relevant country-style dishes appearing in Huaiyang cuisine, and how they can demonstrate the socio-cultural changes taken place in mainland China in the 21st century. The main ingredient of the spicy crayfish dish is originated in Louisiana (USA), is now a significant part of Huaiyang cuisine; while country-style cooking became popular across the board of all regions. With the investigation of current Huaiyang cuisine, I would draw the attention not only to the origins of food ingredients and relevant culinary traditions, but also to how the domestic mobility of people and resources contribute to the change taste and dietary practices in the China since the economic reforms in the 1980s.

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Leiden University

UNESCO and Gastronationalism in Japan and Korea

In December 2013 the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage announced 25 new elements that were inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Five of them focused on consumable heritage: Georgian Qvervu wine, Mediterranean diet, South Korean Kimjang, Turkish coffee, and Japanese Washoku. The first three gastronomic inscription: French Gastronomic Meal, Croatian gingerbread and traditional Mexican cuisine were added three years earlier. In 2015, Arabic coffee and North Korean Kimchi-making passed the Committee’s scrutiny, followed in 2016 by Belgian beer  and flatbread-making.

All these gastronomic applications for the inclusion on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity reveal the growing importance of food in the global competition in nation-branding. Yet, as I will argue this paper, in the case of Japan and Korea the stakes are much higher than elsewhere. UNESCO’s recognition of kimchi and washoku serves as a vehicle for gastronationalism that does not shy from manipulating historical truth and is part of rat-race for the cultural supremacy of the most culinary refined nation in Asia.

Jean Duruz, University of South Australia

Laksa Nation: Tastes of “Asian” Belonging, Borrowed and Re-Imagined

Haunted by the lingering tastes of the “laksa trail”, this paper builds on previous narratives of migration and place-making – the introduction of the Nyonya dish, laksa to the “Mediterranean” city of Adelaide, Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s (2007); a twenty-first century re-making of laksa as Singaporean heritage in the streets of Katong (2011). Reflecting on the city of Adelaide’s promotional discourse (of “creative cities”, “vibrancy”, “laneway” entrepreneurialism and hipster “style”), this current paper asks how does laksa now “sit” in the Australian nation’s culinary imaginary? Is the 1970s dream of “laksa nation” fading fast in this Asian Century, or has laksa become normalised, its ingredients simply relegated to supermarket shelves or its flavours reduced to a predictable menu item in “pan-Asian” cafes? Through an analysis of ethnographic fragments, the paper queries the existence of a national cuisine as such. Instead, through focusing on everyday eating in Australia as “a multinational collage” and the fragmented material cultures of postcolonial global cities (Chambers, 2008), the analysis suggests hard-bordered culinary nationalism might be transformed from signature dishes borrowed by the “west” from “Asia” (whether China, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan) to multiethnic eating framed by geographies of fluidity and histories of paradox.

James Farrer, Sophia University

Michelin Stars Over China: Culinary Nationalism and Culinary Cosmopolitanism in Shanghai’s Fine Dining Sector

In September 2016 the Shanghai edition of the Michelin guide was published. Restaurant world insiders immediately expressed disdain for its starred choices. Internet critics grumbled that foreigners did not understand Chinese cuisine and that Cantonese restaurants were unfairly favored. This is not a study of the Michelin guide per se, but of the ways in which such rankings (including the “Worlds 50 Best Restaurants”) are a site of culinary politics. Even before its publication, Michelin stars are already shining brightly on the city’s culinary firmament. Chinese culinary tourists “collect” Michelin stars abroad, and foreign and Chinese chefs in Shanghai competed to create the fine dining environments that Michelin awards, focusing on interior design, wine pairings, and complex presentation. This interactive process of culinary competition, mimicry and innovation influences how Chinese restaurateurs and customers talk about fine dining. It reveals the connection between culinary nationalism – for example competition to show that Chinese cuisine can be as great as French cuisine– and culinary cosmopolitan – including enthusiasm for foreign cuisines and foreign chefs in Shanghai. This study shows that culinary nationalism and culinary cosmopolitanism, rather than opposites are often two faces of an ongoing globalization of culinary fields in Shanghai and other Chinese cities.

Priscilla Ferguson, Columbia University

Centers and Peripheries: Culinary Countries in the 21st century

From the mid-17th to the late 20th century, French cuisine dominated the culinary enterprise in the West. Paris was the undisputed center of the culinary world. As systematized by the great chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the early 19th century, given the portability of its techniques, French cuisine was slated for success internationally as well. Cooking elsewhere was necessarily peripheral, but those peripheries supplied the center with products and personnel. Writers and journalists preached the culinary gospel of all things French. French haute cuisine drew on many kinds of support:  the centrality of Paris; the spread of French chefs all over the world; a burgeoning luxury urban economy; the cultural prestige of France and things French. Strident culinary nationalism was a matter of course, a received idea that no one, French or foreign, thought to contest. In the 21st century relations between center and periphery have become infinitely more complex. French culinary hegemony has long been contested as formerly peripheral cuisines encroach upon the erstwhile center. With shifting centers and peripheries culinary countries today are excitingly diverse but also bewildering so, a  challenge for all of us.

Jia-Chen Fu, Emory University

Doujiang as Milk: Hybrid Modernity in Soybean Milk Advertisements

Doujiang as Milk,” examines the re-fashioning of a customary food, doujiang, into soybean milk through the rhetorical strategies adopted by Shanghai commercial vendors in the 1930s. Commercial soybean milk companies in 1930s Shanghai marketed soybean milk as a scientific, hygienic foodstuff that bridged traditional and modern values. Using the language of classical Chinese medicine and ascetic practices associated with longevity to describe their soybean milk as healthful tonics, they also highlighted the modern conveniences of standardized and sanitized glass packaging and bottle caps. Through their packaging and advertisements, commercial soybean milk companies promoted in indirect, and sometimes contradictory, forms cutting-edge vernacular knowledge about scientific nutrition that mixed old and new. In the case of doujiang, macro- and micro-nutrients became key players alongside older dietetic ideas about digestion and seasonality. But over time, soybean milk advertisement increasingly associated its product with children, who became the proper subjects to consume modern soybean milk, and science as the definitive measure for both the social and commercial value of the product.

Sana Ho, Soochow University, Taiwan

Rice as Korean self: Globalizing Rice Cuisine as Korean Culinary Nationalism

While rice is more often considered as Japanese identity, what should other “rice eaters” do to present themselves? The aim of this paper is to examine how rice is related to social relationship in Korean daily life and how it has been constructed to present Korean self. Rice is major staple food In East Asia. It not only serves the nutritious function but also as a symbol for collective identity.

In order to represent self distinctly from other similar rice eating cultures, Korean government has strived to globalize Korean cuisine (Hansik). Rice is one of the most important food to represent Korean self besides kimchi, it is thus unavoidable to be used while promoting Korean cuisine globally. In order to distinct from other rice cultures such as Japanese sushi, Koreans promote rice in other forms, such as rice bowl (bibimbup), rice wine (makkoli), and rice cake (tteok or tteokbokki).

By constructing new “traditional” meanings to those rice cuisine, Koreans strive to build up a distinctive culinary identity from other similar rice eating cultures. It is rice, and it is prepared in Korean food way, the one and the only.

Satoko Kakihara, California State University, Fullerton

Priestess of Sake: Woman as Producer in Natsuko’s Sake

As Japanese sake and shōchū compete against imported alcohol in the domestic market and foreign alcohol in the international market, they are framed by a nationalist discourse as upholding a tradition that should be maintained at home and taken abroad as representative of Japanese cuisine. This nationalist marketing of sake highlights women as both consumers and producers. As consumers, women drinking in bars and restaurants have been discussed more in the media since the early 2010s, and marketing has increased to make sake approachable for women. As producers, more women have filled the traditionally male role of the tōji (the sake brewery supervisor) in recent years, often described as young and beautiful and gracing posters to promote products and breweries. The figure of the female sake maker has appeared in several popular culture texts since the late 1980s, such as the manga Natsuko’s sake (Natsuko no sake, 1988–91) and the TV show Amakarashan (1997–98). This paper analyzes Natsuko, the female protagonist of Oze Akira’s manga, and her role as the preserver of traditional sake production practices. In so doing, the paper interrogates the use of young females as the new faces of Japan’s national alcoholic drink.

Gaik Cheng Khoo, University of Nottingham Malaysia

“Modern Malaysian”: De-culturalizing traditional Malaysian Cuisine

When asked to name a national dish, nothing uniquely limited to Malaysia comes to mind. Dishes like satay, nasi lemak, rojak, chicken rice, ais kacang can be equally claimed by Indonesians and Singaporeans and beloved Tamil Muslim staples like roti canai and teh tarik can be found in India. Malaysian cuisine is often discussed as ethnically diverse and hybrid, and recipes and cookbooks often attribute this to its rich history of maritime trade, migration, intermarriages and colonialism. Local cookbook writers are fully aware of the wide diversity and thus, such books are likely to hone in on particular ethnic or regional foods, home-cooking or street food. Abroad, Malaysia is better known for its array of ethnic-inflected street food. But one man, molecular gastronomy lecturer chef Darren Teoh, wants to disrupt the discourse of authentic Malaysian cuisine by de-culturalising it. Teoh brings modernist approaches to local ingredients, preferring to emphasize and feature indigenous plants and herbs, re-presenting the familiar in unusual and creative ways in his restaurant Dewakan. This paper analyses the discourse of Malaysian national cuisine in recipe books, food blogs, restaurant reviews and suggests that a shift to “modern Malaysian” cuisine may provide a novel approach to deconstructing traditional conceptions of Malaysian cuisine.

Michelle T. King, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A Cookbook in Search of a Country: Fu Pei-mei and Chinese Culinary Nationalism

Fu Pei-mei (1931-2004), beloved cookbook author and television personality in postwar Taiwan, was best known to an international audience for her three-volume Pei Mei’s Chinese Cookbook series. Originally published in Chinese-English bilingual editions, the cookbooks became ubiquitous reference books for middle-class housewives in Taiwan and were also packed into suitcases by overseas students hankering for a taste of home. But Fu’s series also spanned the exact decade of a dramatic turn in Taiwan’s political fate, as the United Nations and the rest of the international community shifted diplomatic recognition away from the Republic of China (ROC) to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Contained within the pages of her cookbooks are not only instructions on how to cook Chinese dishes, but also the suggestive contours of China as a culinary nation. Each volume of her cookbook series iterates a different approach to Chinese cuisine and implicitly reflects the changing political circumstances of Taiwan. Ultimately, there is an irresolvable conflict between a cultural approach to Chinese cuisine and a geo-political one. Although Fu was lauded by ROC government agencies as a “culinary diplomat” for her overseas promotional work, a cultural conception of Chinese cuisine weakened and diminished the resonance of specific political claims on behalf of the ROC.

Seung-joon Lee, National University of Singapore

Revolution at the Canteen: Food and Labor Politics in Industrial China, 1910s-1950s

In no country were hunger and malnutrition politicized more than in China. Having set up a number of successful labor disputes before the Communist Party cadres appeared at the scene, Chinese workers themselves made significant political repercussions, namely “rice strikes,” in the 1920s. With a series of industrial welfare programs, the KMT Nationalists, too, made unsparing efforts to garner the growing political potential of the labor force. In the eyes of the KMT technocrats, providing optimal calories to the work force was a quintessential task to fulfill the Party’s cardinal cause: building a strong industrial nation.

Supplying food to worker’s canteen should no longer be an extension of traditional charity practice that had previously blossomed in China’s imperial past, but rather it should be a new revolutionary practice that mobilized new forms of technical expertise ranging from nutrition science and culinary innovation, to statistical calculation and social classification, to public hygiene and racial health. The worker’s canteen, this paper argues, turned into the very institution that provided the workers with learning experience of nutritional knowledge, food entitlement, and political consciousness, which profoundly influenced the CCP’s eventual triumph when the KMT regime failed in the management of the overall food supply.

Tatsuya Mitsuda, Keio University

Imposing Confectionary Identities in Japan, 1890-1935

As a result of its growing global popularity, Japanese cuisine – washoku – has become a major source of national pride back home. Historically, however, it was not always thus: in contrast to western food – yōshoku– Japanese food was seen to be inferior. More western food, which was shown to contain superior amounts of animal protein, needed to be eaten to strengthen the population in a modernizing world. Even though in China the westernization of the diet was to a large extent resisted, this paper shows, through the example of sweets, how in Japan society wished yōgashi – western-style sweets – to embody its modern self, increasingly ‘othering’ wagashi – Japanese sweets – to the point that it would be regarded with acute embarrassment. During the first three decades of the twentieth century enthusiasm in traditional Japanese sweets – wagashi – was difficult to drum up. Characterized by an emphasis on aesthetics, small-scale production, and local markets, wagashi contrasted starkly with the importance western-style confectionary – yōgashi – appeared to attach to health, use, large-scale production, and national markets. Contrasting attempts to make eaters identity with yōgashi and reject wagashi, this paper evaluates the extent to which these initiatives were successful.

Eric C. Rath, University of Kansas

Writing an “International” Cuisine in Japan: Murai Gensai’s 1903 Culinary Novel Kuidōraku

In contrast to the 2013 UNESCO definition of “traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese” (washoku), which purports to be derived from the social customs and foodways of the past, my talk is about a model of cuisine from Japan 110 years older that eschews tradition, promotes urban over rural cooking, and prioritizes globalization and science over the preservation of native customs, but at the same time articulate aesthetics and values familiar in discussions of the essence of Japanese cuisine today.  The person who imagined a cuisine in Japan shorn of tradition and transcending national boundaries was the writer Murai Gensai (1863-1927), famous for his 1903 culinary novel Kuidōraku — a title translated as Gourmandism and as The Pleasures of Housekeeping.  Kuidōraku was one of the best selling books of the early twentieth century launching numerous spinoffs including a kabuki play, theme restaurants, clothing, and Japan’s first gourmet magazine.  It was also Murai’s first exploration of a new “international style” of cuisine in Japan.  My paper introduces the characters and plot of Kuidōraku and then considers how Murai reinvented his novel, and developed his ideas about cuisine, over the course of his career as he continued to promote himself as a food and lifestyle expert.

Krishnendu Ray, New York University

Rescuing Taste from the Nation

The basic tools of modern cultural history and demographics have become so nationalized that they have, for instance, repressed the centrality of connections between neighboring territorial regions of Asia and among port cities of the Indian Ocean, linked through flows of knowledge, material culture, and palatal preferences. This paper theorizes cultural identities that go beyond and below the boundaries of nation-states. In recovering literal taste (on the tongue) it violates the academy’s ontological assumptions of high-mindedness that has trivialized food, cooking and eating. The world of taste and trade in comestibles opens a window into the space between and below nations. When we examine the edges and intersections of territories we begin to see how narratives of cultural difference rub up against the reality of shared tastes, culinary ingredients and technologies. Within and across Asia, a new history of oceans and renewed visibility of transnational circulation is reinvigorating discussions of cultural domains that exceed the nation-state.


Jayeeta Sharma, University of Toronto

Reading Food, Locating “National” Cuisines

This paper addresses the conference theme of Asian Culinary Nationalisms through a study of assorted culinary texts across space and time that offer a broad focus on the regions that constitute historical India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It seeks to provide a historical perspective on how the creation and content of such texts shifts across gendered, classed, and regional categories of gourmands, professional cooks, community publicists, and commercial authors. Texts under review include modern print editions of medieval manuscripts, Indic vernacular and English-language cookbooks from individuals and community organizations, post-colonial memoirs and blogs. It moves beyond historicizing text creation and social authorship to explore how such diverse forms of culinary interlocution intersect with modern and post-modern publics and markets that seek to appropriate them into varied articulations of nationalisms, whether as royal recipes, caste-specific foodways, Lord Krishna’s vegetarian cuisine, or Gurkha curry. Finally, the paper muses on how such research might be located vis-à-vis its author’s positionality as a female cookbook reader, home cook, and North America-based South Asian academic.

Benjamin Siegel, Boston University

Culinary Nationalism in Times of Scarcity: Visions of Plenty and Want in Independent India

Nearly three decades ago, writing on urban, middle-class Indian women, Arjun Appadurai suggested that English-language cookbooks helped to create and raise consciousness of a “national cuisine” with the power to yoke the nation together through shared identity. Appadurai’s intervention galvanized a fruitful strain of scholarship on national cuisine and their negotiation in the postcolonial world. Yet this work, the post-liberalization proliferation of such cookbooks, and the rise of nationally-recognized television chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, have all served to obscure the fact that, in the decades after independence, the overwhelming majority of Indian citizens balanced emerging notions of national cuisines with the competing notion that the state was to be, at its core, an apparatus for militating the pervasive threat of hunger. This paper interrogates popular visions of that apparatus in the decades surrounding independence, suggesting how we might situate paradigms of culinary nationalism against the landscape of enduring hunger in the postcolonial Indian state.

*Fan Yang, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

A Bite of China and Transnational Chineseness

A Bite of China, a food documentary series that first aired on China Central Television in 2012, has enjoyed immense popularity among wide-ranging audiences, both domestic and abroad. After a successful second season in 2014, the show’s third season is now scheduled for release in 2016. According to the director-in-chief, the new season will take a global perspective, incorporating more comparisons between Chinese and “foreign” food, and is scheduled to be shot at numerous locations outside of China, from Italy to Peru.

This paper continues my exploration of the show’s “televisual negotiation of national difference” (Yang 2015) by focusing on the various segments that highlight the role of food in cultivating a transnational Chineseness. Of particular interest are segments (in the second season, for example) that depict the (aspired) border-crossing mobility of middle-class Chinese, the voluntary “returns” of (elite) members within the Chinese diaspora, and the everyday meals of rural-to-urban migrant workers at Foxconn, the Taiwanese-owned electronics supplier for such global tech firms as Apple. By analyzing these portrayals at the intersection of class, gender, and nation/ethnicity, I hope to consider the tensions and contradictions that arise within an ostensible attempt to televisualize China’s culinary encounters with the world.

*Prof. Yang is unable to attend the conference at this time, but interested readers may consult her article, “A Bite of China: Food, Media, and the Televisual Negotiation of National Difference,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 32, no. 5 (2015): 409–25.

UNC Chapel Hill / March 30-April 1, 2017