With 2021 being a year of many thanks, I thought it appropriate to share the Acknowledgements section of my dissertation. It shows what support can look like in ephemeral and sustained ways and, as a form of writing, it makes concrete my gratitude having completed a five-year project.
I am not a marathon runner, but I learned to ‘run’ like one from having an immense amount of support throughout my graduate training. While the metaphor of writing as running may be trite, it captures the reality of a skill set I did not have when I started this project. To all those who shared with me their tips and wisdom, your generosity continues to inspire me.
A lot can happen in five years’ time. My time was marked by love and loss, bringing clarity with each step about why I wanted to pursue this research path. A special thanks to those who took care of me while I was grieving.
To my unwavering support network: you have kept me buoyed throughout the rough and tumble of dissertating. You have each been my emotional chiropractor keeping me aligned and well when performing academic would contort me in displeasing ways. Thank you: Anthony Kennedy, for always putting my work efforts into perspective and for helping me breathe through panic. Never have I felt more comfortable in my own skin while speaking my mind. I am so hopeful about the future to come. Zoe Wake Hyde, for the ongoing reminders that I am not my dissertation and that my contributions to the world are as a critical thinker first, academic second. Our conversations about what enables valid research (how? and who decides?) continues to challenge me in generative ways. Leigh Kinch Pedrosa, for keeping my ideas accessible through your care-full copyediting and storytelling techniques. I especially hold dear one of your great one-liners that I use as my writing mantra (“momentum starts small”) and all the morning calls that started my day with laughter. Nick Amberg, for keeping me well stocked on all the delights and for always seeing the best in a situation. Your glass is always 70% full and your empathy reminds me to soften in a world full of sharp elbows. Rackeb Tesfaye for the pep talks, pampers, and celebrations along the way. I am also grateful to Bibi Diamanti, Anne Koizumi, Jonathan Ayers, Mie Kim, Jesse Currell, Rumi Takagi, Prem Sooriyakumar, Devon Bate, and all the Book Club Ladies—for cheerleading me towards the finish line. To Kyle Croutch, Jonah Campbell, Aaron Langille, Christophe Wong-Trembley, Alice Vanasse, Andrew Elkin, Phil Viens, and Iqubal Velji—thank you for keeping me in good spirits.
A tremendous thank you to Rebus Foundation and Hugh McGuire, for providing the space to think on the scale of whiteboards. A desk of my own helped me focus when my mind was swirling with data. I have learned so much from Pressbooks and the greater Open Education community; thank you for bringing me into the fold.
To David Szanto: you were the catalyst of this doctorate. Thank you for planting the seed for research-creation back in Bra.I am so fortunate to have learned from you the need for criticality and complexity so early in my academic training, be that in the form of trans-disciplinarity or the thinking-and-doing of food. Many of our conversations became the foundation upon which this dissertation stands. I hope when you spot them, you’ll smile to yourself.
My immense gratitude to Summer Lee Rhatigan, whose mentorship since my teens has shaped how I carry myself. Learning “Handel Trio” from you, all those years ago, activated my body and taught me how to pay attention to sensation. Thank you for shifting my attention out of ‘what’ I was performing to ‘how’ I was moving.
For on-the-ground support during fieldwork: Naomi Yabusaki, Hiroyuki “Sebastian” Yabusaki, the Akiyama Family, Ito Family, Ayumi Kinezuka, Nakazato-san, Hasegawa-san, Sarada-san, Kamei-san. Additional thanks for documentation: Sayuri Oki, Francesco Todescato, and Shigeta Kobayashi. Special thanks to Terada Honke, Niida Honke, Shintoku Kyodogakusha, Yamaroku Shoyu, Kioke Revival Project, and Fromagerie Sen—for your time and generosity. 大変お世話になりました。Your encouragements kept me writing.
I have benefited from many discussions with thinkers from afar: Adele Hite, Ruth Schmidt, Lilly Cleary, Markéta Dolejšová, Meredith Tromble, Francois Joseph Lapointe, Greg de St. Maurice, Lai-Tze Fan, Leif Schenstead-Harris, Alison Hedley, Alix Johnson. Thank you for listening while I tested out new ideas. I appreciate your contributions both to content and to process.
Same to Alissa Overend, Stephanie Maroney, Sandor Katz, David Zilbur, Josh Evans, Liis Tuulberg, Marilyn Koitnurm, Anna Sigrithur, Minh Phan, Jody Eddy, and Prannie Rhatigan. Thanks for sharing with me your love for food/ferments. Learning from you, thinking out loud together, and making deliciousness happen at our fingertips have made me who I am today.
To my chosen cohort: I owe a good portion of my sanity and well-being to you all. Thank you for teaching me how to write and edit well: Gianni Solorzano, Catie Peters, Jess Fagin, Alanna Higgins, Erica Zurawski, and Claire Bunschoten. In Montreal, I want to thank Felicity Tsering Chödron Hamer, Emilie St-Hilaire, Myriam Durocher, and Cynthia Noury for your collegiality during coursework and since. Thanks: to Desirée de Jesus for your kindness and follow through; to Juawana Grant, for helping me take my first steps in intersectional feminisms. My immense gratitude to Shawn Suyong Yi Jones for easing me into my new ‘home’ and keeping me accountable during our writing sessions. It is an honor to call you all friends and peers.
Many people helped me find my academic footing when I started at Concordia. Thank you: Alan Bale, Krista Lynes, Alanna Thain, Katerina Symes, Constance Lafontaine, Alison Loader, Darian Goldin Stahl, and Tagny Duff. Thank you Genevieve Sicotte, Pamela Tudge, and Jill Didur—for your positivity and invitational spirit. Special thanks to Milieux Institute’s Bart Simon, Marc Beaulieu, and Harry Smoak for creating play-spaces for experimenters like me.
To my committee members—Yasmin Jiwani, Alessandra Renzi, and Kim Sawchuk—for guiding me through the research process and my greater doctoral journey. I cannot thank you enough for your letters of support, your insights, your wisdom as I navigated these past five years. Thank you, Alessandra for nerding out with me on ontologies and, especially of late, for helping me transition out of ‘student’ to ‘researcher’ (meglio un asino che un dottore morto, indeed). Thank you all for modeling strength and resistance in your respective ways.
Lastly, this project would not have been possible without the funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.