CSUN Exhibit Explores ‘Eating the Archives’

One of the exhibit's display cases. Photograph provided by Ellen Jarosz.

One of the exhibit’s display cases. Photograph provided by Ellen Jarosz.

The California State University, Northridge University Library is exploring the complex relationship between culture, community and food with the opening of its newest exhibit, “Eating the Archives,” on Thursday, Oct. 19. 

An opening reception will be held from 4-6 p.m. in the University Library, and feature a discussion panel of guest speakers, with time for a self-guided tour of the exhibit after. 

“You do injustice to the discussion of food without talking about some of the injustices that are involved in food,” said the exhibit’s curator Mallory Furnier. “ When discussing issues that relate to labor, environmental concerns, agribusiness and food access, it was really important to not only celebrate food and celebrate food culture, but also place it within a critical frame.”

Furnier will be leading the panel discussion scheduled to take place from 4:15 to 5 p.m. in the Ferman Presentation Room on the University Library Garden Level. 

Panel guests include Betty Porto, vice president and director of community relations for Porto’s Bakery; CSUN communications studies professor Gina Giotta; and CSUN alumni Adrienne Borlogan and Jon-Patrick Lopez, co-founders of Wanderlust Creamery. 

The exhibit houses a number of food related artifacts and archives, including both print and manuscript cookbooks, advertisements, clothing and written documentation that investigate American foodways in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

 “Eating the Archives” explores the many ways archival representations of food and associated cultural practices preserve community memories, while reflecting and engaging with broader societal issues related to identity, representation, and daily lived experiences. 

Furnier said that she focused on investigating what we consume and how we choose to consume it, highlighting the impacts of food fads percolating through society, innovative tools, scientific advancements, and the sometimes harsh realities of labor and access.

“I tried to include as many perspectives as possible,” said Furnier, “but there will be absences. That’s why I hope people who visit will see and reflect upon their own personal experiences, in terms of how they see their own identities and how they learned about food in their own communities. Mainly, I want it to be a conversation starter: talk with those around you about how food impacts you, because we all have to eat.” 

To RSVP for the event visit, https://library.csun.edu/events/eating-archives-reception?type=event#rsvp. Requests for accommodation services must be made at least five business days in advance of the event by emailing, library.event@csun.edu.

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