Together with MindLinks, a student-refugee network at the LMU, the Amerikahaus is organizing a discussion seminar.


Free admission

Far Away from Mama's Kitchen: Stories about Migration, Food and Identity

Discussion seminar / Free admission


When millions of black Americans moved north in the 20th century, they were dreaming of better lives. Hoping to escape southern segregation and the threats of racism on their physical health, they looked to northern cities and their industrial jobs that seemed to offer stable incomes as well as more dignified every-day lives. However, what people found there was a different story. Access to jobs and housing was difficult, and black migrants quickly faced a problem they had not encountered in their southern homes: hunger. Cramped into urban slums, there was simply not enough space for the subsistence gardens people had commonly cultivated. Instead, they now had to buy expensive and low-quality foods in supermarkets. Family dinners, which had once been joyous occasions for banter and flavorful pleasure, now lost their appeal. Many felt a sense of longing for the complex, fresh, and vibrant flavors of home, which were so intimately connected to their garden spaces, communal meals with family and friends, and ultimately their sense of identity and belonging.


In this discussion seminar — Far Away from Mama’s Kitchen: Stories about Migration, Food, and Identity — we will use the history of the Great Migrations in the United States to explore how food connects us to different places. How do flavors, odors, ingredients, and recipes shape our identities and sense of belonging? How do they bring meaning to our lives as we move through the world? Feel free to bring a small sample of a dish or a beverage that has been important to you.


Speaker: Elena Torres Ruiz, Amerika- Institute, LMU


Elena Torres Ruiz received her MA in American cultural history, political science, and theatre studies from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich in 2013. In 2011, she spent a semester abroad at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her MA thesis focused on 9/11 and the depiction and use of gender stereotypes in American politics and media.  She has worked as an editorial assistant at the Bayerischer Rundfunk from 2007 to 2016. Since spring 2017 she has been working as a research associate at the Amerika-Institut, LMU.


MindLinks founded in 2016, is a community in Munich made up of local and international students, young professionals, and refugees with a shared interest in academic discussions. Their aim is to create a space of exchange on a fully equal level, highlighting individual knowledge, skills, and ideas rather than membership to a particular social group.


Organizers: MindLinks, Stiftung Bayerisches Amerikahaus


(Picture: © unsplash / Lukas Budimaier)



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