The History Watch Project congratulates Catherine Koonar who currently holds a 2017-2018 Doctoral Fellowship at the Culinaria Research Centre at the University of Toronto – a multidisciplinary initiative that blends research excellence with community engagement and student research experience.
Koonar’s work on the Hershey Chocolate Company deals with many of the important themes and questions in the field of Food Studies and Food History. These include Hershey’s role in America’s imperial foray into Cuban sugar production in the early twentieth century, the politics of labor organization in the 1930s, the creation of a chocolate-based tourist industry, and the importance of Hershey as cultural marker of American identity throughout the twentieth century. In addition to her role as a Research Fellow, Catherine is also serving as managing editor for the peer-reviewed Global Food History Journal.
The projects at Culinaria provide new insights into some of the major questions circulating in the field of Food Studies today. These include the place of food in cultural identity and expression, the relationship between food, diaspora, and inter-ethnic/inter-cultural contact in Canada and beyond, commodity production and labor from slavery to the age of empire to the present-day, and the links between food systems, health, gender, and family.