Dissertation Defense: María Mónica Vallin
Tuesday, April 25 at 11:00am to 1:00pm
Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, 270 37th and O St., N.W., Washington
Candidate Name: María Mónica Vallin
Major: Spanish and Portuguese
Dissertation Advisor: Verónica Salles-Reese, Ph.D.
Title: PARA DESTRUIR POR EL GUSTO LA NATURALEZA DEL HOMBRE GASTRONOMÍA Y
CONSTRUCCIÓN SOCIAL COLONIAL EN MÉXICO Y LOS ANDES
This dissertation explores the hybridization and identity negotiation of
Spanish-American colonial society through its food and cuisine, and the different ways in which these were produced, consumed, and represented. I draw from archival data and canonical texts to investigate European and Amerindian alimentary habits, ingredients, and preparation methods at the time of the discovery of the New World, and how they modified each other during the colonial period. As certain products were adopted and others rejected by the conquerors, the Indigenous population also incorporated and managed its relationship to European ingredients and customs. These tendencies were not only incorporated in their daily life but reach us through written texts and the visual arts.
My analysis approaches the documents and paintings through the interrelationship of culture and taste from multiple perspectives, positing that just as culture defines and creates taste, taste also defines and changes culture, through a process in which an initial experience of rejection becomes pleasurable. This food-focused research opens innovative avenues to reading diverse literary and cultural objects, revealing evolving intercultural negotiations of what is exotic, edible, and palatable and how these values are represented in the 16 th , 17 th , and 18 th Centuries.
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