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Aklilu H Reda

As an anthropologist with interest in food studies, my research focuses on African diasporic identities centering critical studies of racialization as a framework to observe complex ethnic, geographic, and transnational food ethnography. My research illuminates the connections between households, ethnic food, gendered culinary practices, and transnational food commodity chains that cut across generational divides. I analyze these elements as integral layers of the immigrant-food nexus to understand how Afro-diasporic identities are constructed in everyday food practice of multigenerational diasporic households in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The focus on multigenerational households allows me to think about how ethnic identity as analytical category is nested within and informs racialized food practices. Diverse members of the African Diaspora experience a focus on their surveilled bodies, with their blackness, frequently normalized and spatialized through racialized logics in US cultural space that is often accentuated by racial undertones. I am focusing on the US South, but these racialized experiences are national with regional inflections shaped, for example, by legislative histories and a range of spatialized racialized practices.                                 

My research focuses on multigenerational household diasporic identities foregrounding the concepts of practice theory, Black Food Geographies, Critical Race Theory, political economy, and intersectionality. My study argues that multigenerational households experience hybrid identities and make use of their histories of immigration and food practices to navigate juxtaposed ethno-racial complexity while simultaneously negotiating American racial constructs in their everyday life.  investigates the complexity of difference among three generations of Ethiopian diaspora members as their identities are produced, redefined, and recognized through their relationship to “ethnic” cuisine. Situating diasporic identities within the frame of transnational perspective as the path to understand how diasporic people shape their culinary spaces in their own imagery and livelihood conditions, I foregrounded multigenerational households within a spatialized culinary arena to understand the challenges of access to healthy and affordable food. These focuses are presented as part of the broader conversations evidenced in contemporary studies of the African Diaspora. 

Selected Publications:

Agricultural Sovereignty and Arabica Coffee Production in Ethiopia,” published in the peer-reviewed edited volume Global Mountain Regions: Conversations Toward the Future (Bloomington: Indiana University Press)