Julia Fine

Julia Fine

Class of 2019, European Studies
Humanities Fellow, Dumbarton Oaks and the Folger Shakespeare Library
Julia Fine
Thesis Title: "Civilized Man Cannot Live Without Cooks": Food and Empire in Colonial India

What Now: Humanities Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks and the Folger Shakespeare Library
 
What Next: Academia/research 
 
Follow Me: @juliafine19 (Twitter)
 
It sounds a little corny, but I still remember when I first realized that food could be — and should be — a legitimate object of study. I was in my sophomore tutorial, and we read a paper by Elizabeth Buettner on South Asian restaurants in London and how discourse surrounding the restaurants reveals the "persistent yet evolving dialectic between the rejection, and embrace, of the 'other.'" In discussing the article with my classmates and my tutors, what emerged to me is that food and eating encode within themselves issues of gender, class, race, and more, making them an incredibly potent object of study.
 
Since that day in sophomore tutorial, I have been studying the history of food and the British Empire. From my junior paper exploring advertisements of London’s oldest Indian restaurant to my senior thesis looking at food and imperial statecraft in British India, Hist & Lit allowed me to delve into food studies and imperial history, asking critical questions about the way food functioned throughout the British Empire.
 
Now, I continue to look to food as a Humanities Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks and the Folger Shakespeare Library. At the Folger, I work on the $1.5 million Mellon-funded “Before ‘Farm to Table’” project, which explores the history of food in the early modern period. I am working on a conference paper on the history of tea in India before the 1830s, as well as writing blog posts and articles on early modern foodways. At Dumbarton Oaks, I am researching the global history of turmeric for the Plant Humanities Project, and organizing school programming on food, landscape, and environmental history for the Urban Landscape Initiative. I love that I am able to develop the skills I gained as a Hist & Lit student in my professional life. 
 
Next year, I am hoping to continue this thread either performing archival research in South Asia or getting a Master’s in the UK. I’m not sure where this path will take me, but I am forever grateful to Hist & Lit for getting me started on it! 

 
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