FFJ Recommends: Feminist Reading (and Listening) for the New Year
Back in December, we shared a bibliography for the festive season with FFJ for a Friend subscribers. Having passed the peak of January's back-to-work blues and now buoyed by the light-leggedness that can only come from getting over the hill, we're revisiting and updating the list to see where we stand a month into the year — and hopefully providing you with some fodder before the launch of our first issue, MILK.
Marinating in our minds
What we've read and listened to so far
Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America
James Beard, the Award-winning food writer Mayukh Sen honours the role of immigrant women in building the cuisine of a nation, through the untold stories of seven women who shaped American kitchens. We were intrigued by the similarities across many of the women's life trajectories, as well as Sen's unique methodology for researching and telling their stories. He makes an important argument for interrogating the links between "food establishment" and the "food media" in order to recenter the stories that they amplify around voices who have historically been excluded from food magazines, TV episodes, and awards.
Climate Cuisine and Bad Table Manners Two podcasts from the freshly minted Whetstone Radio Collective have narrated our morning dog walks the past few weeks: Climate Cuisine, in which Clarissa Wei explores how sustainable crops are used in similar climate zones around the world, and Bad Table Manners, where Meher Varma digs into the "highs" and "lows" of food culture in India to shed light on the ways that food maintains and challenges caste inequalities, social hierarchies, and gender oppression. We're hooked on the diversity of stories and speakers that these podcasts feature, and the way they push us to see the nuanced ways that common challenges unite us.
For A Better World: Unfair Dairy Our research for MILK linked us up with the team behind this amazing podcast, which tells the stories of workers, farmers, and advocates working to build a fairer system in the world of US dairy. Their episodes are hopeful, action-oriented, and well-researched. We recently had podcast host Anna Canning pen a brilliant bog post for us about the power of worker-led movements in the dairy industry, including to fight gender discrimination and harassment.
The Politics of Knowledge: Understanding the Evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways This new compendium tackles the power dynamics behind what type of knowledge counts as evidence for food systems transformation. It explores alternative forms of evidence such as Indigenous foodways, experiential knowledge, and wisdom, and unpack how funders, researchers, and policymakers can use them to take action on food systems change.
Feminist perspectives on argumentation This was our go-to text for getting through potentially heated family conversations over the holidays. Historically, the discipline of philosophy and argumentation has privileged norms of masculine aggression, evidenced by the violent language often evoked when discussing debate: to have ‘piercing’ intelligence or ‘a mind like a steel trap’; to ‘go for the jugular’ or ‘use strong-armed tactics’, and more. An analysis of different feminist perspectives on argumentation in the philosophy blog at Stanford provided us with a range of alternative approaches to discourse and debate to consider. Many emphasize extending an ethic of radical care to others in the conversation. Some also suggest reframing argumentation as a form of nurturing, rather than violence, given its importance to building strong families, friendships, and communities.
Still on our lists
What we're hoping to get to soon
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis An anthology of essays, poetry, and art by 41 women at the forefront of the climate movement, edited by marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Project Drawdown editor Katharine Wilkinson. The New York Times reviewer calls it “a powerful read that fills one with, dare I say . . . hope?”— which is often in short supply in the media these days.
CHEESE, the magazine of culture Recently nominated by the British Society of Magazine Editors as one of the best new magazines of the year, CHEESE is a gorgeously illustrated zine that puts people and produce at the heart of its stories. Their second issue just came out, and it looks like there’s a feature on poutine, another quintessentially Canadian dish, so consider us sold.
Anything else you think we should be devouring? Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.