Field Guides to Food

Tracy Deutsch: Food History, Gender, and Capitalism (edited video included, with path to trailer and full interview)


In this interview by Peter Shea, Professor Tracy Deutsch at the University of Minnesota talks about her studies of food in history specifically related to gender and capitalism.

The dynamics of consumer society are complex. The hierarchy of food procurement is built into a capitalist structural system, revealing how class affects the ways in which we shop (see minutes 3:52-5:22 and more on gender and consumption at 7:52).

Thinking about this hierarchy of consumption, those who belong to the lowest paid workers in the food chain are more likely to shop at stores that contribute to the greater structural problem. (Refer to the Food Chain Alliance report personal stories from pages 30, 31 and 33 on the first page of this learning path---where do you believe these workers can afford to shop?

Tracey Deutsch is a professor of History at the University of Minnesota where she studies the history of capitalism, the politics of consumer society, food and reproductive labor, and the history of women and gender. Recent publications include “Untangling Alliances; Social Tensions at Neighborhood Grocery Stores and the Rise of Chains,” in Food Nations (2002), Building a Housewife’s Paradise: Gender, Politic and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century (2010) and “Memories of Mothers in the Kitchen: Local Foods, History, and Women’s Work,” Radical History Review (April, 2011). In the spring of 2012 she was a residential faculty fellow at the IAS, working on “The Julia Child Project.” She talks about her project and position as a historian in the food system. 

Table of Contents: (section number from full interview followed by time for this version (00:00) followed by the time from the full interview (00min00sec):

1 & 2. (0:20) (1sec in full version) INTEREST IN FOOD STUDIES
    Food and Business Conference (0:48) (3min50sec in full)
    History of Women and Capitalism to Food (1:13) (5min40sec)

3. (2:32) (6min24sec) ACADEMIC SOCIAL LIFE WITH FOOD
    Events involve food (3:10) (7min15sec)
    Performing status (3:31) (7min46sec)

4. (3:50) (9min30sec in full)  FOOD AND CAPITALISM
    Reflects social and cultural practices (4:00) (12min44sec)
    Procuring food (4:20) (10min44sec)
    Larger Economic System (4:29) (10min32sec)

5. (5:23) (14min in full) WHAT MAKES YOU A HISTORIAN?
    Overlapping disciplines (5:41) (15min23sec in full)
    Context of happenings (6:04) (16min12sec)
    Vital historical shifts (6:38) (17min01sec)

6. (7:31) (24min31sec in full)  FOOD AND GENDER
    Consumer Society (7:52) (25min50sec in full)

    Performing Gender (8:41) (25min9sec in full)

    Influence on editors (9:13) (28min16sec in full)
    Women’s Magazines (9:19) (28min)

7. (9:49) (32min17sec in full) JULIA CHILD PROJECT
    Processed Food (10:10) (32min40sec)
    Whole Food and Laborious Cooking (10:50) (33min42sec)
    History of Home Economics (11:20) (34min22sec)
    Gender in Home Ec (12:26) (34min25sec)
    Julia Child Resistance to Product Promotion (13:10) (38min42sec)
    Class, Capitalism and Food (14:24) (43min13sec)

8. (16:13) (43min57sec in full) COST OF HEALTHY EATING
    Imagined Past (16:37) (44min34sec)

9. (17:34) (47min40sec in full) CONFERENCE FEEDING THE WORLD
    Interdisciplinary (17:46) (48min32sec)
    What can be done to promote collaborations (18:46) (49min10sec)


Tag Words: Identified Actor, Challenged Actor; Governance; Institutional Structure, Knowledge Building, Marketing; Food production,
processing and preparation; Models and examples; Consumer practices; Theories of Change; Health and safety, nutrition; Diversity and Food Culture; Jobs and
livelihoods; Ideals and Frameworks; Economic Development consumption practices;
Equity and Justice; Policy, government as an actor; gender dynamics

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