UCLA » College » Social Sciences » Anthropology
February 26, 2018
3:00pm to 5:00pm
Haines 352 Reading Room
Yanina Gori

Dr. Hanna Garth (UC San Diego)

A conversation with Hanna Garth about “Breakdown,” a chapter from her book-in-progress.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Cuba entered a period of economic hardship known as the “Special Period.” As the government continues to recover, cutbacks have been made to the fifty-year-old food ration, still the central source of food for most households. Based on 16 months of fieldwork in 22 households in Santiago de Cuba, I detail how families engage in a stressful struggle to acquire food. Detailing the social and emotional dimensions of food consumption, I analyze efforts to assemble a “decent meal,” a morally laden social category wherein families assess food quality and cultural-appropriateness. I introduce the concept of the politics of adequacy as a way to illuminate issues related to food security, and the politics of distribution. Finally, I reveal how these ongoing struggles give rise to what Cubans refer to as a “change in character.” 

Established in 2001, MMAC is an interdisciplinary discussion group housed in UCLA's Department of Anthropology. In addition to hosting regular talks and discussions with scholars from UCLA and beyond, the group provides a forum for exploring recent research and classical and contemporary theoretical perspectives that inform psychocultural studies and medical anthropology. 

Regular MMAC participants include faculty in Anthropology, Psychology and related departments, post-doctoral scholars, and interested graduate and undergraduate students. 

Topics explored in recent years include: critical perspectives on health, mental health and illness, healing, memory, emotion, subjectivity & self-processes, religion & spirituality, psychopathology, cultural phenomenology, public health & health disparities, therapeutic applications, research methods & ethics, and psychoanalysis.