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Eating America: Crisis, Sustenance, Sustainability


Justyna Kociatkiewicz, Laura Suchostawska and Dominika Ferens

This volume of essays examines the relationship between eating and crisis. The United States’ long-lasting economic and cultural hegemony raises a number of questions: Has America been – literally and metaphorically – eating, appropriating, exploiting, and molding the world in its own image, or has it been eaten, appropriated, and exploited as a (frequently criticized or disdained) source of ideas, ideology, and knowledge? What is the relation between the current ecological crisis and America’s consumerist economy, with its practices of food production and consumption, and its use of natural resources? What is America’s role in the ongoing crisis of modernity? And, if the crisis continues, where are the sources of sustenance?
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An Abject Guide to America: CSI Lab Autopsy and Stomach Contents as an (Ironic) Index of Interiorizing the Global and the Local: Zofia Kolbuszewska


In our current eagerness to establish political readings of early modern texts—an eagerness whetted by the dearth of such readings in New Criticism—we have allowed political concerns to consume a range of other discourses through which individuals in the period attempted to comprehend their experience of the world and to wring meaning from it.

—Michael Schoenfeldt (1997)

Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) TV shows, especially the series set in Las Vegas, Miami, and New York, as well as such forensic TV series as Bones have become an important landmark in the mediascape of America, and are often considered to be narratives expressing a new sense of American identity after 9/11, especially when regarded in the perspective of the global intruding onto the local and the local mapping onto the global. These shows feature criminal investigations in which autopsies play a very important if not a central role. The stomach contents of dead crime victims or dead perpetrators is often analyzed because they might provide an important clue, perhaps a lead, or even the conclusive evidence of a crime.

The recent surge in forensic imagination, understood as “a desire to speak with the dead,” as Stephen Greenblatt has put it (1)—fulfilled by reading and interpreting traces in order to produce a hypothetical re-construction of the past—has affinities with baroque (and neobaroque) pansemioticism, that is “the idea that every object, whether natural or artificial signifies one or several other objects (which can in...

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