Christopher Sisca

christopher sisca

DPhil Student

Green Templeton College

Thesis: A Recipe for Identity (working title).

Research: My research project examines the intersectional relationships between traditional culinary practices, memory formation and maintenance, and identity construction within the contexts of transnational ethnic identities, migration, multiculturalism, and contemporary food production and consumption. This project specifically focuses on how Calabrian communities are continuing and re-contextualizing their traditional culinary practices in Calabria (Italy) today and how this differs from the culinary traditions practiced and maintained by their diaspora in Toronto (Canada). 

This multi-sited ethnographic analysis will allow me to develop a critical understanding of how Calabrian migrants have continuously used, developed, and reinterpreted their culinary traditions within the new socio-cultural, political, economic, and environmental contexts they encountered, specifically from their immigration to Toronto after WWII right up to the present day. What effects did the maintenance and performance of their various culinary practices have on their communities’ physical, social, and psychological well-being during their re-settlement process? How did they reaffirm their regional ethnic identity through their food practices within the foreign super-diversity and multiculturalism of Toronto? How did the separation of space and time from their homeland alter their conceptualization of their regional ethnic identity? What problems arose in continuing their traditional culinary practices once they obtained economic security, lifestyles of modernity, and adapted to the capitalist food consumptive habits found in North America? 

In addition to these preliminary questions, I will also place this analysis of Calabrian culinary traditions within the contemporary contexts of present day Calabria and more specifically Toronto; exploring the commodification of traditional knowledge, nostalgia, and ‘authentic’ culinary experiences. 

Additional Research Interests: anthropology of the senses, embodiment, visual and material culture, artistic methodologies, traditional crafts and skills, spaces and built environments, gardens, sustainability, and wellness design.

Education: MSc in Social Anthropology, University of Oxford (2016)
Specialized Honours BFA in Visual Arts, York University (2012)