Beyond Biomedicine Finding Care in Embodied Memories about Food

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Tyler Snelling


Fourteen women of color vividly illustrate their experiences of culinary spaces circa 2015 in the zine Women of Color #11: Food and Family History (hereafter WOC11). WOC11 reveals how rituals surrounding food function as vital moments for healing someone’s psyche, soul, and body. Yet, the biomedical framework for health frequently reduces eating to physiological topics like weighing the right amount. By taking us beyond biomedicine, this article examines how food practices promote wellness linked with feelings and the body. I argue that WOC11 illustrates vernacular forms of care by naming violent processes of alienation in Western foodways and commemorating food practices that encourage wellness for the zinesters’ selves, families, and communities. Scholars in rhetoric of health and medicine (RHM), the argument concludes, need to expand where and what is studied by thinking about health as physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness; such topics orient the field toward the lived realities of violence and care.  

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