Vol 35 No. 2 (2016)
For the indigenous Dene of subarctic Canada, food is central to negotiating their relationships with family, animals, and the spirits of ancestors. Indigenous religions and environmental relationships are seldom discussed in terms of foodways, yet centering a discussion of Dene spirituality around the materiality and necessity of food grounds an understanding in the lived realities of Dene peoples. Dene understand animals to gift themselves as food to hunters, who in return demonstrate respect to the animal by sharing the meat within the human community and by offering meat to ancestors through ceremonies such as feeding the fire, thus maintaining social relationships with animals and ancestors through respectful reciprocity. Dene also demonstrate respect by following interspecies social conventions, protocols of respect particular to different beings which are followed by all those involved in the killing, distribution, cooking, and eating. This includes not just male hunters but also women so that animals will continue to give themselves to the people. In traditional Dene ontologies, respectful reciprocity through sharing food serves to maintain balanced and mutually beneficial relationships between social beings living in the same environment.
Dominion in Christian Farming [+] 131-142
Genesis 1:27–28 and 2:15 are the basis for significant debate on conceptions of stewardship and dominion in Christian responses to environmental issues. Key criticisms of historical perspectives of dominion in the west, including from White, have been influential on Christian environmental responses. However, perspectives of dominion persist among some groups of Christians in their worldview of human-nature relations. Farmers in particular find dominion important as a justification for use and development of nature through farming methods and technologies. Often dominion is used along side or within an understanding of stewardship, which exhorts responsibility towards nature. Within the CFFO, a dominion perspective sees farmers as co-creators with God, able to make creation more than it was. Other farmers, however, temper or reject the concept of dominion.
From Ancient Vegetarianism to Contemporary Advocacy: When Religious Folks Decide that Animals Are No Longer Edible [+] 143-160
Abstaining from meat consumption has persistently been a source of debate within religious communities, often functioning as a center pivot around which theological or philosophical orthodoxy and orthopraxy turns. Drawing upon diverse ancient practices, motivations, and textual perspectives in Judaism, Christianity, and Indic traditions along with contemporary religious vegetarians, this essay maps three stages that religious communities have historically grappled with, are presently attempting, and must continue to tackle, as they re/consider eating animals and animal by-products as part of their ethical identities and community meals: (1) critical, deconstructive engagement of textual multiplicity and interpretive authority, (2) robust analysis of human supremacy in light of animal behavioral studies, new materialist science, and empathic experience, and (3) constructing imaginative coalitions beyond species, institutional boundaries, and cultural identities.
From the Goddess Guanyin to Señor Santo Niño: Chinese and Filipino Restaurant Religion in Canada [+] 161-171
“Restaurant religion” describes the practice whereby Asian migrants throughout the diaspora display religious objects in their places of business. Many first generation migrants to Canada use the restaurant as a site to display their sense of belonging and religious freedom. Among the Chinese, religious displays were hidden from customers until after the repeal of the Chinese Immigration Act in 1947. For Filipinos, by contrast, religious displays from the beginning were out in the open. From the statues of the Goddess Guanyin to those of green and redrobed Señor Santo Niño restaurant religion tells of favoured deities, devotional practices and family connections. Restaurants provide homes away from home, recreating intimate dining spaces, offering familiar tastes and religious cultures. They became the focal points of Chinatowns and Manila towns throughout Canada. And while restaurant religion is only one aspect of a migrant’s spiritual life it signals the hunger for both faith and familial sustenance.
Cookbooks are more than mere devices for presenting recipes. They inform the practice of cooking and much more. They contain information about ethnic identity, treasured folklore, gender patterns, and religious performances. They are chronicles of public and personal record. Importantly, food cultures not only strengthen a community’s group patterns, they also sustain those configurations longer than most other customs. But food is ephemeral; it is filled with meaning and then disappears. Cookbooks endure displaying social patterns and cultural meaning. In this essay, the examination of a succession of Iraqi Jewish cookbooks exposes patterns of adjustment and conservation as the community flees its homeland and settles in Montreal, Canada.
How Gelatin Becomes an Essential Symbol of Muslim Identity: Food Practice as a Lens into the Study of Religion and Migration [+] 185-205
Identity negotiation is an essential process in the immigrant experience and, since “we are what we eat,” food can play an important role in the creation, presentation and maintenance of these negotiated identities. In this article I argue that by choosing which religious/cultural food practices to continue and which ones to alter, by choosing to label them in particular ways or to relegate them to specific places and times, my informants show the vast and varied ways that Muslims negotiate their identities in two distinct contexts of reception (COR): Paris, France and Montreal, Canada. I also suggest that these contexts of reception have a significant impact on the way that immigrants live their religious lives in the host society and that food practice is one avenue to investigate these effects. Consequently, through an ethnographic exploration of the experiences of Maghrebine Muslim immigrants in Paris and Montreal I contend that food can act as a lens into, and critique of, larger trends in the study of religion and migration.
Religion and Popular Culture: A Cultural Studies Approach, by Chris Klassen. Oxford University Press, 2014. 227 pp., Pb. CDN $44.95, ISBN-13: 9780195449181 207-209
Mixed Blessings: Indigenous Encounters with Christianity in Canada, edited by Tolly Bradford and Chelsea Horton. University of British Columbia Press, 2016. 226 pp., Pb. $29.65 ISBN-13: 9780774829403 210-211
Reconceiving Infertility. Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness, by Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden. Princeton University Press, 2015. 328 pp., Hb. $43.95. ISBN-13: 9780691164830 212-213