On Food and/as Media, Fermentation, and Multispecies Ethics

Hey, Maya (in review). “Ways of Knowing-With Microbial Futures.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society.

Hey, Maya (in revisions). “Symbiosis and the Steward: Reconfiguring Human-Microbe Relations Towards a Story of Conviviality.” Synthesis.

Hey, Maya (awaiting launch). “Communicating with the Microbial Other: How the Material Practices of Fermentation Connect Humans and Microbes in Polylogue.” Global Media Journal: Canada Edition.

Hey, Maya. 2022. “Fermentation and Delicious / Disgusting Narratives.” In Food in Memory and Imagination: space, place, and taste, ed. Beth Forrest and Greg de St. Maurice, 25-38. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Hey, Maya. 2022. “Does Eating Natto Make One Japanese?” In Food Studies: Matter, Meaning & Movement, edited by David Szanto, Amanda Di Battista, and Irena Knezevic. Ottawa, ON: Food Studies Press. https://doi.org/10.22215/fsmmm/hm20.

Hey, Maya. 2021. “Attunement and Multispecies Communication in Fermentation.” Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 7 (3) 1-24. https://ojs.lib.uwo.ca/index.php/fpq/article/view/10846.

Hey, Maya. 2021. “Conspiring to be Convivial: Fermentation and Living with the Microbial Other.” PhD diss. Concordia University.

Hey, Maya. 2020. “Against Healthist Fermentation: Problematizing the ‘Good’ of Gut Health and Ferments.” Journal of Critical Dietetics 5 (1) 12-22. https://doi.org/10.32920/cd.v5i1.1334.

Hey, Maya. 2020. “In and Of and With and Through, Or How to Make Kin Through Eating.” Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts (E-book 03) 21-29. https://unlikely.net.au/docs/hey.pdf.

Hey, Maya. 2020. “Fermentation and Kitchen/Laboratory Spaces.” In Fermented Landscapes: lively processes of socio-environmental transformation, ed. Colleen C. Myles, 255-272. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Hey, Maya. 2020. “On Performative Food Acts and the Human-Microbe Relationship.” In Conversations with Food, ed. Dorothy Chansky and Sarah W. Tracy, 163-178. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press.

Hey, Maya. 2019. “Fermentation Praxis as Interspecies Communications.” PUBLIC (59) 149-157. http://www.publicjournal.ca/59-interspecies-communication/.

Hey, Maya and Markéta Dolejšová. 2018. “Speculative Fiction as Companion Species in Food Studies Research.” Graduate Journal of Food Studies 5 (2). https://doi.org/10.21428/92775833.af03d28b.

Hey, Maya and Alex Ketchum. 2018. “Fermentation as Engagement: on more-than-human connections and materiality.” Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures 9 (1). https://doi.org/10.7202/1052113ar.

Hey, Maya and Alex Ketchum. 2018. “Fermentation as Agitation: transforming how we live together.” Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures 9 (2). https://doi.org/10.7202/1055215ar.

On Trans-Disciplinary Research with/in Science and Technology

Hey, Maya (in review). “Response-Ability Narratives in Synthetic Biotechnologies.” Journal of Responsible Innovation.

Hey, Maya and Erika Szymanski. 2022. “Following the Organism to Map Synthetic Genomics.” Biotechnology Notes (3) 50-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biotno.2022.07.001.

Hey, Maya, Emilie St-Hilaire and WhiteFeather Hunter. 2019. “Horizontal Exchange, Relations, and Resistance in Bioart and Practice-Based Research.” Journal international de bioéthique et d’éthique des sciences 30 (4) 69-89. https://doi.org/10.3917/jibes.304.0069.

On Education Practices

Hey, Maya (in review). “Narratives of Open Education in Colorado.” Journal of Open Education Resources in Higher Education.

Hey, Maya. 2021. “UDL Practices: Contextual Difference and the Difference it Makes.” In Teaching Gradually: practical pedagogy for graduate students by graduate students, ed. Kacie L. Armstrong, Lauren A. Genova, John Wyatt Greenlee, and Derina S. Samuel, 170-176. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

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Writing Oasis in Tokyo (2020) by Maya Hey is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC License.


(awaiting launch) Communicating with the Microbial Other: how the materiality of fermentation connects humans and microbes in polylogue

Global Media Journal: Canada Edition, special issue on materiality
Edited by Irena Knezevic

Recent science shows that we are composed of as many microbial cells as human ones, offering a generative moment to question how we engage with these other species. What does it mean to communicate with these microbial beings who comprise our bodies and surroundings? Drawing on a combination of ethnographies, participatory research, and research-creation, this paper examines the material practices of fermentation to better inform how to work with and apprehend microbial life. The paper explains when communication takes place, how it takes place with incomprehensible others, and concludes on how communication asks us to reflexively confront our own differences and shortcomings. The implications for this research are twofold: first, (re)imagining human-microbe communications could better inform health, sustainability, and industrial sectors in how to work with microbes; and second, how we treat communications with microbes might provide insights for communications with other humans who we deem incomprehensible and, in so doing, face the humans that we are when we encounter unknown or unknowable communicators.



(2021) Conspiring to be Convivial

Supervisor: Alessandra Renzi
Review by doctoral committee: Yasmin Jiwani, Kim Sawchuk, Jill Didur, Eben Kirksey

I examine the material practices of fermentation to better imagine how we could (continue to) live with microbial life. Using a combination of communication studies, feminist thought, and cultural studies, I propose three theoretical concepts for how we engage with the seemingly invisible. This research is supported by a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.


(2021) UDL Practices: contextual difference and the difference it makes

Teaching Gradually: practical pedagogy for graduate students, by graduate students, Stylus Publishing
Edited by Kacie L. Armstrong, Lauren A. Genova, John Wyatt Greenlee, and Derina S. Samuel

This chapter examines three barriers to learning that were identified over two terms of 300-level undergraduate teaching a. As a graduate student new to Universal Design for Learning (UDL), I explain the assumptions I carried into the classroom; how students challenged these my assumptions; and how employing a UDL approach helped to create a conducive learning environment for all.


(2021) Attunement and Multispecies Communication in Fermentation

Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, Volume 7, Issue 3
Edited by Kathryn Norlock
Blind peer-reviewed

In this article, I examine the epistemic practice of attunement in sake fermentation and its potential to mediate robust forms of multispecies and multi-scalar ethics through food. As a form of knowing, attunement asks the human brewer to engage their bodies on multiple scales: (1) attuning on a social scale of humans, (2) on a spatial scale of humans and microbes, and (3) on a temporal scale of microbes. This multi-scalar approach to knowing hinges on the brewers’ embodied relationality, or what others have called response-ability, in engaging with microbes before they are categorized as “good” or “bad” in human contexts. I argue that attunement could help rewrite the metaphysics of what it means to be human.


(2020) Make Kin Through Eating

Jahnne Pasco-White: Kin, Art Ink
Edited by Nico Taylor
Blind peer-reviewed

In this paper, I consider eating and art-making as ethical encounters, using the artwork of Jahnne Pasco-White as a point of departure. I take the notion of embodiment and co-constitution in a literal sense by thinking about eating as a way to make kin between and across species.


(2020) Against Healthist Fermentation: problematizing the ‘good’ of gut health and ferments

Journal of Critical Dietetics, Volume 5, Issue 1
Edited by Alissa Overend, Meredith Bessey, Adele Hite, and Andrea Noriega
Blind peer-reviewed

This paper examines healthist fermentation, or pursuing fermentation in the name of gut health, to problematize assumptions about choice and control in fermentation contexts. It argues that health is not a fixed state but rather enacted with more-than-human agencies and (re)negotiated at every eating event.


(2020) Performative Food Acts

Conversations with Food, Vernon Press
Edited by Dorothy Chansky and Sarah Tracy

This chapter argues that thinking about fermentation (and other food encounters) in a non-hierarchical way can help us to scrutinize a human-centered worldview. Pivotal to this argument is the notion of a performative food act, a concept I unpack, which distributes agency across different species and ambient (f)actors. Through repetitive invocations, performative food acts keep the ontological basis of microbes from being fixed in an anthropocentric manner. They help frame food encounters as layered, contingent performances that decenter the human ‘protagonist’ to see other interdependent relations.


(2020) Fermentation and Kitchen/Laboratory Spaces

Fermented Landscapes: Lively Processes of Socio-environmental Transformation, University of Nebraska Press
Edited by Colleen Myles

This chapter examines the archetypes of commercial kitchens and scientific laboratories as spaces for (food) knowledge production, especially with how certain knowledges become credible, accepted, and circulated over others. Since humans are not the only ones who ferment in these landscapes, we can begin to reflect on other forms of agency that we may often take for granted.


(2019) Fermentation Praxis as Interspecies Communications

PUBLIC, Issue 59
Edited by Meredith Tromble and Patricia Olynyk
Blind peer-reviewed

Given that the human-microbe relationship is an entangled one, how do we relate to, communicate with, and live alongside microbes who we cannot easily see or sense? Through feminist accounts of the body and discussions about embodied knowledge, this article contends that fermentation is an instance of interspecies communications because its practices require repeated encounters with microbial life.


(2019) Horizontal Exchange, Relations, and Resistance in Bioart and Practice-Based Research

Journal international de bioéthique et d’éthique des sciences, Volume 30, Number 4
Co-authored with WhiteFeather Hunter and Emilie St-Hilaire.
Blind peer-reviewed

The arts and sciences carry different epistemics and values in research. And, they are often organized in a vertical manner privileging the knowledge of one domain over the other. With this in mind, how could trans-disciplinary and practice-based research (such as bioart or food research) flatten epistemic hierarchies and foster more horizontally collaborative methods towards a shared and critical understanding of bioethics?


(2018) Speculative Fiction as Companion Species in Food Studies Research

Graduate Journal of Food Studies, Volume 5, Issue 2
Co-authored with Markéta Dolejšová
Reviewed by Editor-in-Chief

This paper builds on concepts put forth by Anna Tsing (2012) and Donna Haraway (2003), arguing that material-semiotic relations matter in the context of food research. In addition to the material and the semiotic, we contend that a third dimension be considered: the speculative. Our essay embraces the possibility of taking speculation seriously as a mode of scholarly food inquiry, especially in the transdisciplinary field of food studies. We mobilize the ethos of speculative fiction as research tool for imagining a food future that reflects on the troubled present, inspiring us to look into possibilities, potentiates, and ideating plausible what-ifs.


(2018) Fermentation as Engagement: on more-than-human connections and materiality

Introduction to Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures, Volume 9, Issue 1
Co-authored with Alex Ketchum
Reviewed by Editor-in-Chief

How can integrating the perspectives of food, feminism, and fermentation help us to think about our world differently? In our first of two special issues, our contributors attend to questions of anthropocentrism, or human-centered thinking, to see how we are already tethered to and rely on other beings.


(2018) Fermentation as Agitation: transforming how we live together

Introduction to Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures, Volume 9, Issue 2
Co-authored with Alex Ketchum
Reviewed by Editor-in-Chief

How can integrating the perspectives of food, feminism, and fermentation help us to think about our world differently? Our second issue focuses on how an integrative approach to food, feminism, and fermentation can attend to inequalities in the political and social structures of our living, eating worlds. It builds on the idea of reframing our human existence as a web of relations.




Published in Fool Magazine #8, Japan Edition, 2020

A day in the life of winter brewing with Terada Honke, one of only two natural sake breweries in Japan. Based on ethnographic research and continued collaboration since January 2019.


From the Frontlines of Fermentation

Published in The New Gastronome, 2019

Dispatches from the frontlines of fermentation with explanations for how Terada Honke brews sake and makes koji. It includes moments that illustrate Terada Honke’s ‘natural’ brewing philosophy.


The Ongoing Work of Feminism and Fermentation

Published on the Public Scholars Blog at Concordia University.

This post deliberately connects the theoretical connections between feminist thought and fermentation praxis.


Microbes: Good or Bad? (Or Neither?)

Published on the Public Scholars Blog at Concordia University.

We may categorically label microbes as one thing (e.g. probiotic/pathogenic), but organizing the world around us into binaries can lead us to more trouble.


Opinion: Romaine lettuce alert shows limits of our power over microbes

An opinion piece published in The Montreal Gazette on November 24, 2018, after another E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce. I argue that these food recalls are symptomatic of a much larger problem: the myth that we can control microbial life. If we are to address the actual root cause of food alerts and recalls, we need to change the way we think about how we live with microbes in everyday ways.


fff musings

cover design
by Monica Femi Laflamme

musings is the biennial publication of the working collective fff: food, feminism, fermentation. The inaugural edition is a collection of stories with food, feminism, and fermentation written from a diverse range of perspectives, including scholars, activists, artists, and practitioners.


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