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Lecture Series: Coconut controversies in Esmeraldas-Ecuador

Event Type
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)
101 International Studies Building, 910 S. Fifth Street, Champaign
Feb 27, 2014   12:00 pm  
Pilar Eg├╝ez Guevara, PhD. Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Angelina Cotler
Originating Calendar
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

For centuries, coconut has been a basic staple in the traditional diet of the people of Esmeraldas, a province located to the north eastern region of Ecuador with a majority population of African descent. Elders recall the old days when coconut was eaten in various forms at least three times daily. Based on fieldwork conducted in Ecuador this past January, I examine the political, economic and racial contexts, and the implications of the dramatic decrease in coconut consumption among the people of Esmeraldas over the past few decades. In particular, I explore the phenomenon of "food gentrification," as seen in the conflicting values and beliefs about coconut and in its commercialization, which draws Esmeraldeños away from their native foods, while simultaneously bringing them to major cities branded as "healthy." This research is part of an ongoing audio-visual and research project that documents the value in traditional food practices in Ecuador. Learn more at http://comidasquecuran.com.ec/

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