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20th Annual CLIFF 2016

Appetites: Discourses of Consumption

20th Annual CLIFF Conference

March 10-12, 2016

Department of Comparative Literature

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Over the past twenty years, the rise of food studies has brought the culinary to the attention of academics, particularly among social scientists and in departments of cultural studies. This brings new valence to widely circulated notions of cultural and material consumption and their affective dimensions (e.g. desires, appetites). Building on foundational work by scholars including Pierre Bourdieu, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Roland Barthes, researchers have added food to the ever-growing list of cultural products deserving of inquiry. This relatively new concern with food opens up the possibility of thinking consumption and appetites in broader terms. How do we consume bodies, images, and cultures? How can the humanities engage with food studies? Is it possible to think the consumption of food alongside other forms of consumption? This conference, aimed at graduate students in all disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, is concerned with appetite and consumption in all their varied aspects.

We are very pleased to announce that this year's keynote speaker will be Rey Chow, the Ann Firor Scott Professor of Literature at Duke University. Situated at the intersection of critical theory, cultural studies, literary studies, film and media studies, and postcolonial studies, many of Chow’s recent publications directly address the connections between the culinary and the cultural, with food becoming a window into the depths of the ordinary. Chow’s work also focuses on issues of cultural translation as tied to commodification. This nexus is central to discourses of consumption (culinary and otherwise), while at the same time bringing visual culture, cinema, literature, and new media into the conversation.

Conference Program

All conference activities will take place in the Rackham Graduate School at 915 E. Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.

Keynote Lecture by Rey Chow, Duke University

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

“A Tale of Deliveries”

Assembly Hall, Rackham 4th Floor


7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Assembly Hall, Rackham 4th Floor


Friday, March 11

Edible and Eating Bodies

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

West Conference Room, Rackham 4th Floor

Catherine Ellis, University of Durham - ‘Sera-ce le contre-poison de la fataleJustine?’: Textual Antidotes, Edible Prostitutes, and Cannibal Monks in Rétif de la Bretonne’s l’Anti-Justine (1798)

Lisa Haushofer, Harvard University – Appetite Historicized: The Eating Body and Nineteenth-Century Physiology of Digestion

Helen Yilun Huang, University of Oregon – Visual Sensations: From Josephine Baker’s Banana Skirt to Miss Chiquita’s Fruit Hat

Moderator: Mariane Stanev

CLIFF@20 Lunchtime Roundtable

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm

West Conference Room, Rackham 4th Floor

Jeffrey Middents, American University - CLIFF 1996

Monika Cassel, New Mexico School for the Arts - CLIFF 1996

Corine Tachtiris, Earlham College - CLIFF 2006 & 2007

Genevieve Creedon, Princeton University - CLIFF 2010 & 2011

Moderator: Mélissa Gélinas, CLIFF 2016

Food in America

1:45 pm – 3:45 pm

West Conference Room, Rackham 4th Floor

Nicole Rudisill, University of Wisconsin – A Full Stomach: Life Behind the Façade of Fondant and Festivities

Briel Kobak, University of Chicago – Straight Whiskey and the Producer/Consumer It Protects

Nicolyn Woodcock, Miami University – Remembering the “Forgotten War”: Transnational Entanglements and Foodie Trends in Eating Military Base Stew

Moderator: Xiaoxi Zhang

Food as Data

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

West Conference Room, Rackham 4th Floor

Lelian Maldonado, University of California, Riverside – Artifact Acquisition, Public Consumption, and the Contemporary Destruction of Ancient Sites

Marina Merlo, University of Montreal – Food, Porn, and Selfies: Photographic Cultures of Consumption

Brad Bolman, Harvard University – Tasting/Testing Hogs: Cooking and Consumption as Science

Moderator: Vedran Catovic


Saturday, March 12

Making the Nation

10:30 am – 12:30 pm

West Conference Room, Rackham 4th Floor

Denise Castillo, University of Wisconsin – Chiles en nogada: The Creation of National Identity

Diksha Dhar, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania – Is It Actually about Beef? Locating Subsuming Appetites of Nationhood under the Liberal Discourse of Choice

Arnab Dutta, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and Rijksuniversiteit – Sweet, Surfeit, and Swadeshi: Rasagollā and the Consumptive Nationalism in Bengal

Elizabeth Collins, University of California, Los Angeles – The Poetics of Hunger in the Anticolonial Writings of Césaire and Fanon

Moderator: Alexander Aguayo

Gender and Food

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

West Conference Room, Rackham 4th Floor

Kaitlin Browne, Eastern Michigan University – Womanly Appetite: From the Canterbury Tales to Gilmore Girls

Alice Tsay, University of Michigan – Weariness and Watercress

Dorthea Fronsman-Cecil – Manly Appetites and Hungry Men: Identity, Memory, and Gendered Consumption in the Novels of Michel Houellebecq and Frédéric Beigbeder

Moderator: David Martin

Beyond Fusion Cuisine

3:45 pm – 5:15 Pm

West Conference Room, Rackham 4th Floor

Ajibola Boladale, University of Ibadan – Dokunu as Staple: Diaspora, Return, and the Popularity of Ghanaian Food Culture in Nigeria

Benjamin Ireland, University of Michigan – Ook Chung’s Kimchi: Foodways in the Francophone Nippo-Korean Novel

Leigh Saris, University of Michigan – Mantı and Memory: Greek-Turkish Exchange Tourism and Cultural Heritage

Moderator: Yael Kenan

Conference Party

Saturday Evening