Biography


Hanna Garth, University of California, Irvine

Hanna Garth is a sociocultural and medical anthropologist broadly interested in how marginalized communities struggle to overcome structural violence. Her recent research focuses on the ways in which changes in the global food system, international trade, and shifts in local food distribution systems impact communities, families, and individuals. Using feminist methodologies and critical race theory, Hanna focuses on how food scarcity and reduced access to affordable food influence individual and household stress levels. Her regional interests include Latin America and the Caribbean—in particular Cuba—as well as Latino and black communities in the United States. Hanna holds a BA in anthropology and Hispanic studies from Rice University, an MPH in international health from Boston University, and a PhD in anthropology from UCLA. She has an edited volume, Food and Identity in the Caribbean (2013) with Bloomsbury and a recent article in Food, Culture & Society.

 

Abstract


The Politics of Adequacy: Food Provisioning, Entitlements, and Everyday Life in Post-Soviet Cuba

This paper examines how families struggle to maintain their local ways of eating and a decent quality of life as the socialist welfare state declines in post-Soviet era Cuba. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Cuba entered a period of economic hardship, forcing the government to make cutbacks to the fifty-year-old food ration, still the central source of food for most households. Based on 16 months of fieldwork within 22 households in Santiago de Cuba, this paper details how families engage in a stressful struggle to acquire food, including efforts to assemble a “decent meal,” one that meets families’ standards of food quality and cultural appropriateness. This paper introduces “politics of adequacy” to detail the social and emotional dimensions of the practices of acquisition. These ongoing struggles give rise to a “change in character,” placing strain on family and community relationships.