María Elena García, “Gastropolitics and the Specter of Race: Stories of Capital, Culture, and Coloniality in Peru” (U California Press, 2021)

In this episode of the New Books in Latin America Podcast, Kenneth Sánchez spoke with Maria Elena García about her wonderful new book Gastropolitics and the Spectre of Race: Stories of Capital, Culture, and Coloniality in Peru published in 2021 by the University of California Press.

In recent years, Peru has transformed from a war-torn country to a global high-end culinary destination. Connecting chefs, state agencies, global capital, and Indigenous producers, this “gastronomic revolution” makes powerful claims: food unites Peruvians, dissolves racial antagonisms, and fuels development. Gastropolitics and the Specter of Race critically evaluates these claims and tracks the emergence of Peruvian gastropolitics, a biopolitical and aesthetic set of practices that reinscribe dominant racial and gendered orders. Through critical readings of high-end menus and ethnographic analysis of culinary festivals, guinea pig production, and national-branding campaigns, this work explores the intersections of race, species, and capital to reveal links between gastronomy and violence in Peru.

María Elena García is an associate professor in the Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington in Seattle. García received her PhD in Anthropology at Brown University and has been a Mellon Fellow at Wesleyan University and Tufts University. Her first book, Making Indigenous Citizens: Identities, Development, and Multicultural Activism in Peru (Stanford, 2005) examined Indigenous and intercultural politics in Peru in the immediate aftermath of the war between Sendero Luminoso and the state.

Kenneth Sanchez is a Peruvian journalist that works as a freelance journalist and as a multi-platform content curator for the Peruvian media outlet Comité de Lectura. He is a host of the New Books in Latin American Studies podcast and the movies & entertainment podcast Segundo Plano. He holds a master’s degree in Latin American Politics from University College London (UCL), is a Centre for Investigative Journalism masterclass alumni and is part of the 6th generation of Young Journalists of #LaRedLatam of Distintas Latitudes. He has won several awards including the prestigious Amnesty Media Award given out by Amnesty International UK.

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