Congratulations to TRU member Sarah Tracy for successfully defending her excellent PhD thesis “Delicious: A History of Monosodium Glutamate and Umami, the Fifth Taste Sensation.” Sarah’s beautifully written dissertation narrates the histories of two interrelated objects: the global commodity and flavour enhancer MSG, and umami (roughly translated from the Japanese as “delicious”), the fifth basic taste that MSG is understood to confer. Her project situates umami within the transmutations of the life sciences between Japan and the United States, and shows how the metabolics of taste are inseparable from global capitalisms. It puts feminist science and technology studies into conversation with food studies, sensory history, cultural history, and post-colonial studies to foster cross-disciplinary insight into how foods mediate value, health, class, race, happiness, and violation.
Sarah will be leaving the Toronto and the TRU for a postdoctoral position at UCLA between the Institute for Society & Genetics and the Center for the Study of Women. She will be working with Prof. Hannah Landecker and continuing her research into the molecular politics of food, and distinctions and relations between food and exposure.
Congratulations to Sarah Tracy!