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Mexican Cultural Identity Expert Explores 'Kitchenspace' for SNC

October 22, 2003

[ Maria Elisa Christie Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Dr. Maria Elisa Christie, with the Geography Department at the University of Texas at Austin, will lecture as part of the Sagan National Colloquium public affairs series at Ohio Wesleyan University on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. in OWU's Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Benes Room. Dr. Christie will speak about "A Cultural Geography of 'Kitchenspace," which relates to this year's Colloquium theme on "Food: A Harvest of History, Culture, Politics, and Science."

Using an ethnographic approach to food preparation, Dr. Christie will explore the kitchen as a space in which successive generations learn their relationship to food, the natural environment, gender, sexuality, and cultural knowledge. She will discuss two different representations of "kitchenspace" in Mexico, Laura Esquivel's novel "Like Water for Chocolate" and Dr. Christie's research in three communities in central Mexico.

In the communities of Xochimilco, Ocotepec, and Tececala, the kitchen is a privileged site of cultural reproduction and a gendered terrain in which women play a key role in social relations. As Dr. Christie explains, the "kitchenspaces" of central Mexico are fertile places to explore the constructions of nature and culture in a rapidly changing world.

Dr. Christie has also been working with developmental and environmental organizations for over 15 years in Latin America and Mexico. She currently works for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and the Western Governors' Association facilitating cooperative agreements, information exchange, and strategic planning between the environmental agencies of the ten states that share the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Sagan National Colloquium is in its 18th year at Ohio Wesleyan. All lectures are free and open to the public. More information is available at snc.owu.edu or 740-368-3995.