Theses Doctoral

El arte nuevo de cocinar: género, trabajo y tecnologías en Chile y Argentina, 1890-1945

Alberdi, Begoña

This dissertation analyzes cookery books and domestic manuals published in Chile and Argentina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when both countries were transformed by the wave of industrialization. These best-selling cookbooks put domesticity on a public display and were, for the first time in Latin American history, published by women. I argue that, along with the feminization of the genre, between the 1890s and 1950s, a rhetorical turn took place: from “Cooking” to “Culinary Art.” Considering this shift as a pivot of the modernization of women’s work, I explore cookbooks as part of a broader cultural context that includes teaching, performances, interviews, and women’s interventions in the media industry and public sphere.

In opposition to second-wave feminist constructions of domesticity, these cookery manuals do not propose a liberation of women from the kitchen, but an emancipation of the concept of kitchen itself. I examine how these best-selling books went beyond industry mandates and gender subjection and functioned, in fact, as tools of political, social, and cultural change. In so doing, I consider both the space of the kitchen and the genre of cookery books as complex technological artifacts that reshaped both the culture of modernity as the role of women within larger processes of industrialization and economic development. My dissertation takes up the challenge of comparative work; geographically, interdisciplinarily, and methodologically. This comparative perspective serves as an intellectual platform for discussing the interaction between different fields: feminist theory, the history of technology, food studies, labor history, and literary and cultural studies.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Montaldo, Graciela Raquel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 15, 2022