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“Not Even A Grain of Rice: Buying Food on Credit in the Dominican Republic”

March 16, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Christine Hippert

About the presentation: Christine Hippert discusses her new book, Not Even A Grain of Rice: Buying Food on Credit in Corner Stores in the Dominican Republic (2021), an ethnography centered on buying food on credit in corner stores and its impact on the development of intercultural networks in Cabarete, an important international tourism destination in the Dominican Republic. But this is also a story of power, privilege, and the social constructions of race and racism. Haitians and Dominicans who work in the bottom echelon of the tourism industry have developed intercultural networks of in-store credit to buy food, called fiao, in small corner stores, the preferred shopping venue of working-class residents. Fiao develops ties that bind people together in networks that they rely upon, especially in times of need. Yet fiao fails to eliminate poverty and racist perceptions of others for both shopkeepers and customers alike. The voices in this book shed light on people’s experiences with food shopping, debt, and survival to reveal a more complicated interpersonal engagement between Haitians and Dominicans than has been previously assumed. Not Even A Grain of Rice helps shape our understanding of the role of survival strategies that center class-based solidarity in mitigating racism in neoliberal and neocolonial contexts.

About the presenter:  Christine Hippert, PhD/MPH (chippert@uwlax.edu) is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she has been on the faculty since 2007. She teaches courses on the anthropology of food, medical anthropology, culture change, social/economic/racial justice, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. As a cultural anthropologist with a graduate degree in public health, she has conducted long-term ethnographic research for over 20 years throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, primarily in the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Mexico. Christine has also conducted applied anthropological research in the US, including leading a collaborative team of public health practitioners and undergraduate students in an evaluation of the Farm 2 School program in the school district of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Her research examines people’s experiences of community development, health care, and food security as they relate to social constructions and the cultural politics of racial, ethnic, gendered, and national identities. The results of her research have been published in interdisciplinary journals such as Food and Foodways, The Journal of Latin America and Caribbean Anthropology, Women’s Studies International Forum, Bolivian Research Review, Practicing Anthropology, and Wadabagei: the Journal of the Caribbean and its Global Diaspora. Christine is former president and an active member of the North Central Council of Latin Americanists (NCCLA) and a Regional Faculty Associate with the Center of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Please register HERE. Once you are registered, you will have access to the Zoom meeting shortly before the presentation begins.

*If you are interested in purchasing a copy of her book, please click here: Hippert_Flyer_2021_updated for a special 30% off discount code!*

This lecture is being co-sponsored by the Food Studies Network at UW-Madison.


March 16, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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