by Zilkia Janer

About Zilkia Janer

Zilkia Janer is Professor of Global Studies and Geography at Hofstra University. Her most recent book is Latino Food Culture.


Descartes’s enduring separation of mind and body resulted in the disqualification of food and eating as objects of intellectual inquiry because they belong to the realm of sensory experience and bodily functions. Nevertheless, in the past few decades there has been a veritable explosion of interdisciplinary scholarship on food related issues. Human beings need to eat to live, so it should not come as a surprise that food is intertwined with all aspects of human culture. In the field of Latina/o studies, food has received increased attention both as material and nonmaterial culture (Janer 2008). As material culture, food is an indispensable object of study given that Latinas/os are the backbone of the food industries in the United States. As nonmaterial culture, food is equally significant for Latina/o studies since food-centric discourses have been instrumental both in the marginalization and in the self-assertion of Latinas/os.