Visual and Material Culture: Course

A Portrait of Cuisine in the Land of Israel

1700707
Vered Ronit, Semester 1, Wednesday, 14:00-17:00
2.0
Food is primarily a biological drive, but what we eat, choose to eat, or long to eat defines our identity and symbolizes our gender, class, religious and community affiliation. In the era of social networking, writing about and photographing food has become an highly popular way of accumulating symbolic capital, reflecting knowledge and power. What’s true of the whole world is even more evident in Israel. In the first decades of Israel as an independent state, any culinary discourse was almost taboo. The pioneering ethos and Socialist political-economic processes which shaped Israeli society’s origins dictated an attitude of being satisfied with little, alongside ambivalence to leisure culture and the joys of life. Today we constantly talk about food, engaging with food is an aspect of the cultural sphere, and the Israeli kitchen has become a marketing tool for improving Israel’s image across the world and part of it’s official cultural diplomacy. But what is Israeli cuisine? Why do we feel we must define our national cuisine? How does geographical space impact on structuring a kitchen culture? And in a globalized world, in an immigrant society, does “local cuisine” have any meaning? During the course we will study and experience key concepts of the culinary discourse and try to assemble, at the theoretical and visual level, a list of foods which have created the Israeli canon. The course includes lectures and meetings with chefs, food and alcohol producers, designers, and artists.