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The flavors of multi-ethnic North American literatures

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Abstract

This paper analyzes culinary remembrances by Asian Canadian, Latina, and Caribbean writers, investigating the multivalent meaning of food in literary texts. In ethnic literature, food figures as a powerful symbol of ethnicity, becoming a significant site where identity construction, community building and social critique can take place. Descriptions of culinary practices set in motion thoughts on belonging and national identity, offering affective encounters with the past. Culinary nostalgia, this paper argues, allows ethnic subjects to identify as ethnic via their relationship to food, opening up ways of engaging the politics of identity. Using a language through which to imagine alterity, these narratives provide a space for reflections on the complex interplay of “here” and “there,” of “home” and “away.”

References

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