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CHEFS Research Group – Craft, Kinship and Colonialism

June 30 @ 15:00 - 16:30

The CHEFS (Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society) research group at Sheffield Hallam University is delighted to host a series of online research talks exploring the socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink. Talks are open to all—local and global, students and staff, practitioners and public. Please feel free to share with your networks. Next up:


Presenters:  Thomas Thurnell-Read (Loughborough University); Belinda Zakrzewska (University of Sussex)

Zoom joining link available here

This session will feature two talks:

‘Working by hand and as a family…it could become your life’: Biography and kinship in the narratives of craft gin distillers
Thomas Thurnell-Read (Loughborough University)
Both in theory and in practice, the concept of craft is bound up with notions of autonomy and self-expression whereby the craft product is viewed as an expression of the maker’s own taste and character. Drawing on 20 interviews with independent gin distillery workers conducted between July 2017 and February 2018, this paper will address the centrality of biographical reflections of personal growth, development and self-realization to craft distiller narratives. While these narratives tend to foreground the heroic individual craft entrepreneur who invests their selfhood into the product they make and sell, the paper will also consider the involvement of family and kin to the operations of many craft businesses. For a number of participants, working together with spouses or siblings brings benefits and challenges, the negotiation of which are framed as a process of better understanding the personal relationships that are integral to the sustainability of many craft drinks businesses.

Recipes for crafting authenticity and coloniality
Belinda Zakrzewska (University of Sussex); paper co-authored with Michael Beverland and Stephan Manning
This paper sheds light on the dark side of craft by examining how local elites project images of craft and coloniality through claims of authenticity in postcolonial contexts. We focus on the contemporary Peruvian culinary field where elite chefs are spearheading a new cuisine based on the appropriation of cultural elements of native indigenous communities. Drawing on an ethnography of the new Peruvian cuisine, we find that elite chefs project images of craft through three authenticity claim-making practices: the rediscovery, reinterpretation, and revaluation of marginalized cultural elements. However, these overtly celebrated practices disguise practices of extraction, elevation, and exploitation of marginalized cultures whereby the logic of coloniality operates. From this, we make two contributions to the literature on craft authenticity: we put forth a process model of domestic cultural appropriation where images of craft and coloniality are two sides of the same coin and we uncover the enchanting role of craft-based authenticity claims in concealing the reproduction of coloniality.

To attend the session, please use the joining link here; if you’d like to receive a calendar invite, please email j.smith1@shu.ac.uk


June 30
15:00 - 16:30
Event Category:


Online via Zoom
United Kingdom