Camille Bégin

 
Camille Bégin

Research Associate
History

Biography: 

Camille Bégin is a historian of food and the senses, she received her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2012. Her article on the taste of Southern Food in the 1930s U.S was awarded the 2012 Association for the Study of Food and Society’s Belasco Award for Scholarly Excellence (best article). Since July 2014, Camille is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of sociology and anthropology at Concordia University, Montréal.

Camille is working on a sensory and cultural history of food in the U.S in the 1930s entitled Taste of the Nation: The New Deal Search For America's Food. The book delves into the rich food archives of one New Deal agency, the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) and its ambitious America Eats project. Instead of the grim images of hunger and soup kitchen line-ups that dominate histories of the Great Depression, the narrative explores how the New Deal search for ‘American’ taste produced reassuring images of public eating. She develops the concept of 'sensory economy' to explore the dynamic interaction between categories race, gender, ethnicity, and region in the New Deal drive to record, protect, and publicize regional food traditions. This sensory analysis emphasizes taste as the result of a process of circulation and exchange in specific historical and textual contexts rather than a physiological character or the static quality of a dish. This book is forthcoming in the University of Illinois Press' Studies in Sensory History Series. 

Publications: 

Taste of the Nation: Sensing Food in the New Deal Era, Studies in Sensory History Series, University of Illinois Press, Book manuscript in production, June 2016

 “‘To Partake of Choice Poultry Cooked à la Southern Style’: Taste and Race in the New Deal Sensory Economy,” Radical History Review, “Radical Foodways” special issue, vol. 2011, no. 110 (Spring 2011): 127-143

Education: 

Ph.D., University of Toronto, History, 2012

M.A. Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Centre de recherches d'historie nord-américaine, 2006