Ms. Niki Kiviat Publishes First Book
Ms. Niki Kiviat, Middle School Spanish teacher, has written her first book with Serena Rivera, (In)digestion in Literature and Film: A Transcultural Approach.
From Ms. Kiviat:
Serena [Rivera, co-editor of (In)digestion] and I met at the annual conference of the Northeast Modern Language Association back in 2015, and our partnership has always been rooted in food studies: Serena, at the time working on her PhD in Portuguese & Lusophone Studies at UMass-Dartmouth, was writing on food tropes and masculinity in Lusophone literature; my dissertation (from Columbia University) was on food as a vehicle of continuities and rupture in postwar Italian cinema. From the day we met, we knew we wanted to put together a book on food tropes, which is a niche but increasingly popular topic in academia. The lightbulb for (In)digestion went off in our heads during a panel we chaired at the 2017 NeMLA Conference, which considered food as a metaphor for power. One panelist discussed food tropes in children’s books by Roald Dahl, and how through grotesque eating (think the cake scene in Matilda) and the burps and farts in The BFG, Dahl was utilizing food as a means of communicating resistance. This generated a lot of lively discussion among panelists and audience members, and that’s when we knew we had something.
I think the difficulties of pitching this volume - on the abject, on those “taboo” components of digestion - are precisely what make the book so fascinating. Everybody poops, but it’s by no means a “normal” topic in scholarship or literary circles. But those norms are exactly what the essays of (In)digestion are negating. The eating disorders and the disordered eating (atypical food combinations, acts of eating which violate religious codes, cannibalism, etc.) presented in this volume are acts of consumption that reveal the institutional disorders of society.
Last August, while I was on vacation down in Avalon, Routledge released the feedback from the review process - professors’ and scholars’ evaluation of our proposal. I was THRILLED to read their responses, and their positive reception really kept up our morale during the editorial process. I think this one comment says it all: “(In)digestion offers an engaging and enriching perspective to contemporary food studies. Its historical range, comparative global perspective, and focus on rebellion, rejection, and resistance complicate and open new directions for examining food and digestion as tropes in literary and filmic scholarship.”
Indeed, I am mostly excited to see the new avenues of food studies potentially born from our work!