Visiting Scholar 2009-10
TOPIC: Critical Change and the Food System
Claire Menck is an international award winning chef, restaurateur, and scholar. Claire has been in the food service industry for over twenty years, winning awards from the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, the International Food Service Editorial Council, and the James Beard Foundation; as well as a host of other professional accolades. Her passion for food has led her to investigate issues of sustainability in the global food system from an academic perspective. In addition to holding degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, New England Culinary Institute, and the University of Phoenix, Claire is presently finishing her doctoral work at Antioch University in the PhD in Leadership and Change program. Her research focuses on how communities have used cuisine to establish and maintain meaning and cohesion in response to the twin crisis of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast region of Louisiana. Ms. Menck lives in New Orleans where she is a visiting scholar at Tulane University’s Newcomb College Center for Research on Women. Most days she can be found walking her dog, Neelah, through Audubon Park, and eating (and drinking) whatever is offered up in the restaurants, bars, and cafes of her favorite city.
Claire will be leading a panel discussion on "Recipes of Resilience" on May 8th at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Don't miss it!
Listen: Presentation to Tulane IDEV 493: Gender and Disaster: "Intro to Social Media and Disaster" (Audio MP3) (Slideset PPT) @NCCROW January 2010
My work as a visiting scholar at Newcomb College Center for Research on Women is focused on critical change and the food system. The food system is composed of five critical processes (Goody): production, distribution, fabrication, consumption and disposal. The spaces of the food system, such as restaurants, farms, markets, and home kitchens are densely networked nodes of activity in the social system where one or more of these processes are engaged. The goal of my work is to examine such spaces and their response to a critical change event, in this case- hurricane Katrina. I intend to engage in three case studies that, when strung together, will touch on all five processes of the food system. This will be both a historical investigation, looking at the system prior to Katrina, as well as a present representation of how Katrina has affected these places and the people who inhabit them, and how they have responded to such an event. It is my ultimate hope to shed light on how the process of change impacts the food system and the social networks that support it.
Central to this work is involvement in the food community. Using my own contacts in the food service community, and tapping into more through NCCROW, I will establish the sites for three case studies within the first three months of my residency. These sites will draw on restaurants, local farms and markets, and home kitchens and public food space such as churches and community centers.
Once established on site, the second phase of my work will involve fieldwork consisting of participant observation, interviews, and photography (still and video). I expect to begin this work during the Fall/Winter of my residency and continue this work through the end of my term. At the same time, I will use the library and archival resources at Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, as well as those in other Tulane and New Orleans collections to gather historical data for the project.
Newcomb College Center for Research on Women @ Tulane University New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5238 email@example.com