The ‘actor’ in the Western theoretical tradition acts under the guidance of centrally made decisions. The actor’s imagined body moves when its voluntary muscles are prompted by its brain. Eating may be a precondition for this activity, but it happens somewhere else, sometime earlier. Eating lies outside the vocabulary that helps shape academic ways of thinking and writing about humans. In this lecture I will focus on eating practices, not to naturalize ‘eating,’ but to see it as an activity that helps cut up reality in some ways and not others. In a world where the waters, woods, and wonders formerly called ‘nature’ are trans-forming all too rapidly in dire ways, it is worth exploring what follows if we model ‘acting’ on ‘eating.’
Annemarie Mol is professor of Anthropology of the Body and helped develop post-ANT/feminist understandings of science, technology, and medicine. Her research combines the ethnographic study of practices with rich theoretical investigations of language, bodies, objects, sites, and processes. Her current work includes a theoretical and ethnographic investigation of the daily life practice of eating.
Co-sponsored by Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Feminist Science Studies, Program in Society and Medicine, and Department of Anthropology.