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Colonization of Cuisine: A Literature Review of Food Availability and Acceptability in Canada and Vietnam

Nguyen, Hedda

While imperialism may be well defined, we do not yet know the bounds of its effects. In this review of the literature, we explore the role of colonization in food and diet in the context of Indigenous people in Canada and the Vietnamese people during French colonial times. Food is a distinguishing component of cultures for its unique expression of the physicality in which colonization can change both the human body but also longstanding sociocultural customs. This review of the literature examines how French settlers altered the availability and acceptability of food through colonization. In Canada, the introduction of the universal welfare state and the reservation system severely limited Indigenous access to cultural foods. Today, Indigenous communities across the country continue to face significant rates of food insecurity in comparison to the rest of the population. In Vietnam during the French colonial period, French settlers altered the value of food items through their introduction of Western foods such as bread, dairy, and coffee. While several of these foods are now synonymous with Vietnamese culture and cuisine, the social value placed on eating certain foods stem from French colonialism. The examination of these two case studies in Canada and Vietnam yield greater insight into the role of colonization in changing food habits and consumption and thereby cultural behaviors.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Fullilove, Robert E.
Degree
M.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
April 6, 2021