Delfina Foundation library with 2022 curator-in-residence Yina Jiménez Suriel (Dominican Republic)

We have put together a reading list for our fifth season of the Politics of Food, formed from recommendations from our current residents and UK associates.

Eso que llaman comunalidad, Jaime Martínez Luna (2010)

“This book has become an inspiration in my practice because through its pages the author takes us on a journey to understand the notion of “comunalidad” which refers to the communal way of life that characterises the original communities of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. This book is a reminder of the existence of other ways of organisation and life. It is an enunciation from an indigenous territory in resistance, which has achieved peace and sustainability through collective work.” – Emilio Hernández Martínez of Cocina CoLaboratorio (Mexico)

The Origin of Capitalism by Ellen Meiksins Wood (1999)

“Being in London and part of the Politics of Food, I keep returning to this book. Not so much because of its argument for an ‘origin’ of capitalism, but for the way this book describes the particular material conditions and social, economic relations that developed in rural England, as well as between the rural and the city of London during early modernity, in which a specific form of a capitalist and agricultural system emerged. It’s actually really helpful for understanding food relations today.” – Åsa Sonjasdotter (Sweden/Germany)

How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human by Eduardo Kohn (2013)

“This is just such a beautifully constructed piece of writing. It upturned all my ideas about the animistic/agential qualities of more-than human others. Reading this alongside Elizabeth Povinelli’s Geontologies completely transformed the way I understood life/non-life.” – Cherry Truluck (UK associate)

Small Fires: An Epic in the Kitchen by Rebecca May Johnson (2022)

“I cannot read one book at a time (I think I have five on the go at the moment) and so to recommend just one goes against my concurrent reading nature. But I recently finished Rebecca May Johnson’s Small Fires and my mind keeps wandering back to it every time I toast bread, slice garlic, or boil water, which is to say again and again throughout the day as I take breaks from my research and writing. But as Johnson argues, these aren’t really breaks. Cooking is thinking. It is a way of knowing, and so anyone who cooks or thinks or eats (which is everyone) should consider how these acts intersect by reading this smart and generous kitchen epic.” – L. Sasha Gora (Canada/Germany)

All Art is Ecological by Timothy Morton (2018)

“This book gives me an insight on the strangeness of how we may or may not be living in age of mass extinction. It asks us to rethink or make fun of our psyche towards our role in ecology and how art plays in this ecological system.” – Derek Tumala (Philippines)


The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson (2020)

“This piece of “cli-fi” (climate fiction) is a must read. Set in the near future, it shows the Climate Crisis unfolding through a diverse number of lenses with each chapter having a unique narrative voice. The events and climate solutions in the novel are grounded in science and presented with an appropriate amount of terror and hope, such that the book doesn’t feel like a novel, but rather a potentially accurate description of our future.” – Annalee Levin (UK associate)

MR KR-GR: The Death-Rolled Kingdom by Zedeck Siew and Mun Kao (2017-19)

“This is a set of A5 zines that draw from the overlapping material cultures, lived stories, and mythistories of that region of the world variously called Indochina, Suvarnabhumi, and the Nusantara: Southeast Asia. A beautifully written and illustrated slice of worldbuilding that manages to circumvent the typical euro-centric basis of the fantasy genre. The set is incredible, but each zine gives a real flavour of the project by themselves. This is informing my approach to my research for my Politics of Food residency as I am exploring my familial link to colonial food production in Kenya in the 1950s.” – David Blandy (UK associate)

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (2010)

“This book primarily concentrates on three disasters in US history, but for me it reframes a few things for me and my work. Firstly, that disasters can bring neighbourhoods together and that kitchens are often at the centre of this, and secondly, Rebecca Solnit talks of the everyday being a disaster in itself. I completely agree with this. Thinking of our capitalised and industrialised landscapes and society as disaster zones opens up possibilities for how we treat them and ultimately change them on a social, economic and environmental level.” – Andrew Merrit (UK associate)

Decolonial Ecology: Thinking from the Caribbean World by Malcom Ferdinand (2021). Translated by Anthony Paul Smith

“I am currently reading Timothy Morton’s Dark Ecology, but I want to read this book by Malcom Ferdinand and think it seems like a good one for the Politics of Food reading list. I have listened to talks by Ferdinand and he speaks of a “double fracture of modernity” and the separation of colonial and environmental history which are deeply connected. He looks at the need to rethink ideas of ecology from how it has been used in the “genealogy of ecological thinking.”” – Maya Marshak (South Africa/ Eswatini)

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013)

“This book was recommended to me by many friends and peers every time I spoke of my own work around identifying indigenous methods of learning from the land. It’s so poetic and restored my sense of hope when it comes to thinking about how ecologies can be revered and possibly even restored, especially when indigenous and/or peasant knowledge finds its place next to scientific knowledge and not below.” – Moza Almatrooshi (UAE)

L’invention du colonialisme vert, pour en finir avec le mythe de l’Eden Africain by Guillaume Blanc (2020)

Joseph K. Kasau and Stéphane Kabila (DR Congo)

Delfina Foundation’s fifth season of the Politics of Food, in partnership with Gaia Art Foundation and with additional support from a range of individuals and partners.