In recent years, Taiwan has seen a surge of interest in the foodways of indigenous Austronesian people. Public and scholarly discourse tends to focus on either indigenous foodways' cultural significance or the healthiness of food items eaten by indigenous people. These two dominant perspectives, however, have obfuscated the issue of labor. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in an urban indigenous community in the Taipei region, this article addresses what I call risky labor behind the maintenance of indigenous foodways today, especially in urban contexts where many indigenous people have settled over the last forty years. It discusses two forms of risky labor: (1) the gendered labor of urban indigenous women who acquire food items by encroaching upon state and private properties and (2) the intellectual labor of urban indigenous people who share knowledge about indigenous foodways with nonindigenous Han Chinese urbanites.
“Someone Else's Land is Our Garden!”: Risky Labor in Taipei's Indigenous Food Boom
Tomonori Sugimoto is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Stanford University. His doctoral dissertation examines how the concept of indigeneity is marshalled to make political, spatial, and ecological claims in urban Taiwan. By analyzing how Taiwan's Austronesian indigenous Pangcah/Amis people are increasingly making claims to the city of Taipei and its land, nature, and infrastructure—despite their lack of indigenous ties to the city—his research shows how indigenous belonging and politics are shifting as indigenous people rapidly urbanize. He has also begun research on the renaissance of indigenous foodways in Taiwan over the last twenty years. He has published articles on the politics of indigeneity in Taiwan in journals such as Settler Colonial Studies and Yuanshijie.
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Tomonori Sugimoto; “Someone Else's Land is Our Garden!”: Risky Labor in Taipei's Indigenous Food Boom. Gastronomica 1 May 2018; 18 (2): 46–58. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2018.18.2.46
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