About five years ago, Donovan Conley realized his passion for cooking and good food was something more than a pastime. As an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at University of Nevada, it dawned on him that food had everything to do with his scholarly work. Food touched everything that mattered, from the environment to labor practices, from federal policy to everyday habits, from pleasure to decadence and suffering, public health crises, and so much more.
On Wednesday, February 17 at 5pm, Pacific Lutheran University presents “Food and Narrative” in the Garfield Book Company’s Fireside Lounge. The event uses food to explore the 2016 SOAC Focus Series theme: storytelling. Conley along with PLU Communication Professors Amy Young and Justin Eckstein will be presenting. The three foodies have worked on several papers together exploring how the perception of taste can serve as a channel for social change.
Catering to the students in the audience, Conley will be cooking up something ‘mind-bogglingly easy,’ cheap, and delicious.
“The idea would be to connect a simple dish, or two or three, that anyone can make in ten to fifteen minutes (something like fried egg spaghetti) to the new fast food phenomenon, Loco’l,” Conley says.
Loco’l’s idea, which Conley is excited about, is to dismantle the existing fast food industry by creating a fast food chain that is cheaper, tastier, and healthier than any of the reigning giants of the field.
The event will explore the question of where to locate agency amidst social change: Can chefs save us from ourselves? What about a professor showing some students how to cook simple food?
“Food has emerged over the past few decades as a major source of people’s everyday socio-cultural investments. Rightly or wrongly, food is felt to offer hope for better lives, stronger communities, and all kinds of political possibilities,” Conley says.
The SOAC FOCUS Series brings together SOAC’s talented students and faculty to examine a chosen theme through a multidisciplinary approach. Through music, art, dance, theatre and communication we will explore storytelling, an interactive art form that connects all humans on a deep level, transcending time, location, age and language, while enacting change, understanding and peace. To tell a story is to bring someone into your world, touch their heart, mind and soul.