I would like to focus on how the gastronomy of indigenous Latin American communities were impacted by the enforcement of European norms and ideas surrounding cuisine, health, morality, and other elements of society. I will hone in on a specific area of Latin America to examine a smaller-scale interaction between Spanish colonizers and an indigenous community, potentially by analyzing a specific case in New Spain. I think food can be an extremely meaningful piece of material culture that can show us a lot about colonial influence. While some may think that this was a simple clash of cultures that brought about an equal mixing between indigenous and Iberian techniques and ingredients, what I have learned about in this course shows that the complexities embedded within power dynamics, namely through violence and erasure, result in a far more complicated history and reality. I also may decide to focus on the chili as a specific food item to investigate, but I think I will narrow that down based on what I find to be most prevalent in the literature I encounter.
I can use the Hernán Cortéz passage in the last Victors and Vanquished assigned reading as a primary source to show how colonizers perceived the differences in culture and customs, specifically with regard to food and dress. Another primary source I could use would be Christopher Columbus’ encounter with aji chilli in the reading from Bauer’s Goods, Power, History.
Below are some secondary sources that I found that will bolster my understanding of indigenous gastronomy and the impact of colonization and internalized sentiments of deviance or inferiority brought about by colonizers on indigenous peoples:
- Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, by Maricel Presilla (cookbook)
- “Beyond Culinary Colonialism: Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Liberal Multiculturalism, and the Control of Gastronomic Capital”, by Sam Grey and Lenroe Newman
- Que vivan los tamales! : Food and the Making of Mexican Identity, by Jeffrey Pilcher
- “Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition Transition in a Right to Food Perspective”, by Siri Damman, Wenche Barth Eide, and Harriet V. Khnlei