JHI Circle of Fellows Spotlight—Jaclyn Rohel

October 5, 2022 by Sonja Johnston

Jaclyn Rohel has a PhD in Food Studies from New York University. At U of T, she is the New Media Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at the JHI, and she also contributes to the Feeding City Lab and the new UTSC Sustainable Food and Farming Futures (SF3) Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program. Jaclyn was the JHI's 2021-2022 Community Engaged Humanities Research Fellow. She also produces and co-hosts the Gastronomica podcast series on Heritage Radio Network.

JHI: What are your main research interests?

JR: My field is Food Studies. Broadly, my work crosscuts urban food systems, culture, and community. My research interests focus on public cultures of consumption, labour and the marketplace, and food security. Through my public scholarship, I seek to put my research to work to support local communities and to help build more inclusive and resilient foodways.

JHI: What research project(s) are you working on at the JHI and why did you choose it?

JR: My research this year focuses on culinary labour and community connections. I am working on a few different projects related to this theme. First, I am a collaborator on a SSHRC-funded Connection grant for a multimedia project called Voices from the Food Frontlines: Pandemic & Beyond. This project is part of the Feeding City SF3 lab (directed by Professor Jo Sharma, and based at the Culinaria Research Centre at UTSC), where I’ve collaborated for the past two years. For Voices from the Food Frontlines, I am this year mentoring a team of student research assistants as we produce a university-community multimedia archive, including a series of podcast interviews with people who work in various food provisioning sectors – from farming, to emergency food, to restaurants and public markets. I’m also wrapping up work on a separate project on home cooking and culinary enterprise with other Culinaria colleagues. In addition to these research projects, I am starting new work on ghost kitchens and culinary labour to explore the relationship between infrastructural change and an ethics of hospitality. All of the research I’m undertaking this year helps advance understandings of local foodways as sites of care, care-work, and community connection.

JHI: You’re our New Media Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow. Can you give us an idea of what you’re planning to do this year?

JR: I am organizing two JHI events on Public Humanities, to be held in the Winter. In January, I’ll be leading an introductory workshop on podcasting for scholars in the humanities and interpretative social sciences. It will teach participants the basics of podcasting and how to start, highlighting the new media format as a tool for public scholarship and knowledge translation. I’ll also be leading an event in March on community-engaged research. Stay tuned to the JHI newsletter for more information and details on how to register!

More immediately, I am getting ready to launch the next season of the Gastronomica podcast. I produce and co-host this series with the Heritage Radio Network as part of my work on the Editorial Collective of Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies. These podcasts spotlight new and cutting-edge research in the world of Food Studies. Our Fall 2022 series will feature conversations on craft and culinary labour, on design, and on culinary infrastructure in postindustrial cities.

JHI: How has your experience at the JHI been so far?

JR: Delightful, inspiring, and with a strong sense of community. The JHI events calendar is lively and bustling; I always learn something new at the talks and workshops. The Circle of Fellows meetings are the highlight of my week – I appreciate that the discussions are so multidisciplinary, even as they center around a common theme.

JHI: Share something you read/watched/listened to recently that you enjoyed/were inspired by.

JR: In my downtime, I read a lot of creative non-fiction, especially memoir. A recent favourite? Beautiful Scars, by Tom Wilson.

JHI: What is a fun fact about you?

JR: I like making things – building, crafting, cooking... Often the results are in some way material and tangible, but I think it is this same creative spirit that led me to deepen my use of new media in my academic work.