Sweet Potato Fries x Food Imperialism

Remember about fifteen years ago when we all went a little nuts for sweet potato fries? What was going on there? Well it turns out, that beloved appetizer was more than a tasty treat circa 2007. In this episode, Marcelle leads Hannah through research about the “orange-flesh sweetpotato” and its relationship to GMOs, cash crops, fat phobia and food imperialism. She pulls on the work of Joe Kobuthi for an analysis of food systems that informs her understanding of the sweet potato's zeitgeist-y moment.and she ends with a thesis that's got quite a bite to it.

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Material Girls is a show that aims to make sense of the zeitgeist through materialist critique* and critical theory! Each episode looks at a unique object of study (something popular now or from back in the day) and over the course of three distinct segments, Hannah and Marcelle apply their academic expertise to the topic at hand.

*Materialist Critique is, at its simplest possible level, a form of cultural critique – that is, scholarly engagement with a cultural text of some kind – that is interested in modes of production, moments of reception, and the historical and ideological contexts for both. Materialist critique is really interested in the question of why a particular cultural work or practice emerged at a particular moment.

Music Credits:

“Shopping Mall”: by Jay Arner and Jessica Delisle ©2020

Used by permission. All rights reserved. As recorded by Auto Syndicate on the album “Bongo Dance”.

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