Introducing: My Interests
Recently, while perusing the world of food blogs online, I came across a post by food blogger and academic Emily Contois. One of her oldest posts is about the interests she brings to the world of food writing and research, and taking a page from her, I’m introducing mine here. My hope is that this will help readers get a sense of the angles I look for and the ideas I bring to discussions of food, history, and culture.
Race & Identity
It’s a big deal for me that I’m mixed. It’s how I introduce myself when asked about my background. My mum is from a little mining town in Northern Ontario (Canada) and my dad was born in Marabella, Trinidad. For me, this has always meant that I get to inhabit many spheres of identity. I have Indo-Caribbean, Scandinavian, and Scottish heritage. Curried moose is the dish that best explains the way that I grew up. I have always felt Canadian, even when I couldn’t describe why, or what that actually meant. This identity colours the way I think about boundaries, nationalism, culture and belonging.
Food & Eating
I love food. I have grown up doing my homework in the kitchen; I was (am) the number one taste tester in the family. When I found food studies halfway through my undergrad it became a lifeline and a passion. Food has allowed me to explain my academic life to friends and family who feel it’s not for them, and has given me a platform from which I can move to so many other interests that I have without losing focus or becoming spread too thin. It’s also an essential and exciting part of my everyday life, and so much of the media environment now.
Indian Ocean & World History
I can never seem to narrow my interests down, so I thought I would be a world historian, not even knowing when I decided what that meant. It just seemed to fit with food. Moving through classes though, it seems to me that regional histories are more my speed at times. Since my earliest university history classes were in Southeast Asian history, that’s been my diving board, and I continue to read about history in the region, having now expanded outwards to an interest in the Indian Ocean world.
I took a single, life-changing seminar class on Spaces and History with Professor Raman at the University of Toronto during my MA, and was sold. History’s entanglement with spaces is the place (ha!) for me to be. There is so much analytical fruit in considering the way that geography shapes our trajectory as individuals and groups, and I am all for looking into the real, created, and imaginary places we exist in.
I know it can be a difficult or obstructive trait to be a jack of all trades, and I’m not, technically. I do, however, have diverse and changing interests, all of which affect the way I see the world, and change the path of my new study. There’s always something new to be learned!