Pizza Talk: The Politics of Adequacy: Food and Everyday Life in Post-Soviet Cuba

Event Date: 

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Event Location: 

  • HSSB 2001A
Hannah Garth, UC Irvine
Spring 2016 Pizza Talks
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Cuba entered a period of economic hardship known as the “Special Period.” As the government continues to recover, cutbacks have been made to the fifty-year-old food ration, still the central source of food for most households. Based on 16 months of fieldwork in 22 households in Santiago de Cuba, I detail how families engage in a stressful struggle to acquire food. Detailing the social and emotional dimensions of food consumption, I analyze efforts to assemble a “decent meal,” a morally laden social category wherein families assess food quality and cultural-appropriateness. I introduce the concept of the politics of adequacy as a way to illuminate issues related to food security, and the politics of distribution. Finally, I reveal how these ongoing struggles give rise to what Cubans refer to as a “change in character.”
Hanna Garth is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine. Hanna is a sociocultural and medical anthropologist broadly interested in how marginalized communities struggle to overcome structural violence. Her regional interests include Latin America and the Caribbean, and US Latino and Black communities. She completed her BA at Rice University, an MPH at Boston University, and a PhD in Anthropology at UCLA.