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Lecture Series: Coconut controversies in Esmeraldas-Ecuador

Speaker Pilar Eg├╝ez Guevara, PhD. Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Date Feb 27, 2014
Time 12:00 pm  
Location 101 International Studies Building, 910 S. Fifth Street, Champaign
Sponsor Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)
Contact Angelina Cotler
Event type Lecture Series
Views 39

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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