POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Kathleen Morrison, professor of anthropology and social sciences and director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago, will present a lecture on “Agrarian Change, Elite Cuisine, and Forest History in Southern India” on Wednesday, October 6. Free and open to the public, the lecture, which commemorates the birthday and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, will begin at 6:00pm in Vassar College’s Taylor Hall, room 203.
In this talk, Morrison will examine processes related to aspects of everyday life such as farming, cooking, and eating that produced inequality in 16th- and 17th-century southern India. She will build on a regional-scale analysis of agrarian and forest history to discuss the implications of the development of rice-based elite cuisines for longer-term social and environmental change in southern India. Morrison will focus on new research on Iron Age and later household remains that may allow scholars to understand the ways in which social difference and inequality not only came to be deeply implicated in food practices, but also how these processes left an enduring mark on local environments.
Morrison received a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her research specializes in the archaeology and historical anthropology of South Asia, with a focus on precolonial and early colonial South India. Her interests include state formation and power relations, agricultural organization and change, colonialism and imperialism, landscape history, anthropology of food and stable isotope analysis, urban-rural relations, botanical analysis, Holocene hunting and gathering, and the integration of archaeological, historical, and ecological analysis. Her publications include the forthcoming Oceans of Dharma: Landscapes of Power in Southern India and The Daroji Valley: Landscape History, Place, and the Making of a Dryland Reservoir System (2007).
This event is sponsored by the Asian Studies Program and cosponsored by the South Asian Students Alliance and the Anthropology Department, Environmental Studies Program, Geography Department, History Department (C. Mildred Thompson Fund), Political Science Department (Barbara Bailey Brown ’32 Fund), Religion Department, and the Science, Technology and Society Program.
Every fall the Asian Studies Program sponsors an event to commemorate the life and works of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi’s leadership of India’s anti-colonial struggle through nonviolence has inspired liberation and civil rights movements across the world.
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.