Ilaria Tabusso Marcyan

Dec 30, 2023

The Cultural Roots of Slow Food

Peasants, Partisans, and the Landscape of Italian Resistance

Lexington Books 2023

The Cultural Roots of Slow Food: Peasants, Partisans, and the Landscape of Italian Resistance (Lexington Books, 2023) focuses on the work of a variety of intellectual activists, related food justice literature, and documentary films, and argues that contemporary forms of environmental activism, as they are rooted in local food and sustainable farming, are built on Italian peasant culture and its contributions to the Resistance movement. 

During World War II the Italian Resistance marked an unprecedented encounter between the urban and intellectual resistance and peasant culture, contributing to the creation of a new legacy of organic intellectuals. The organic intellectuals analyzed in this book look to the hinterlands to demonstrate that peasants, by sharing their knowledge of the land and traditional practices, produce their own organic intellectuals. Some examples examined are Alcide Cervi, Nuto Revelli, and Ermanno Olmi. Ilaria Tabusso Marcyan argues that their work, personal experiences, and visions of resistance foreground the roots of the Slow Food international grassroots movement. She posits that today, Slow Food and the food communities of Terra Madre in Italy and around the world represent one of the many examples of these new organic intellectuals committed to rebuild a more harmonious and sustainable relationship with the land.

A title mentioned in the interview is Contesting Extinctions. Decolonial and Regenerative Futures (Lexington Books, 2021) edited by Suzanne McCullagh, Luis Iñaki Prádanos, Ilaria Tabusso-Marcyan, and Cathy Wagner. Wesley Y. Leonard is involved in the Myaamia language reclamation project.

The Nuevos Horizontes podcast is supported by the Mellon Foundation and the graduate program in Estudios Culturales y Humanísticos at the Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. This episode was hosted by Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera and Ricia Chansky.

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Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera

Catedrático de Humanidades, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayagüez.
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