Comida Como Resistencia (2022) bridges archaeology and agroecology, exploring the lineage of land stewardship traditional cooking in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Join us for live mariachi music, food, planting activities, and post-film discussion with the filmmaker, Dr. Keitlyn Alcántara (IU Department of Anthropology).
Set in Tlaxcala, Mexico, a tiny state with a legacy of resistance, this documentary short presents archaeology as a key tool for remembering food histories that predate capitalist, colonial worldviews. In the late 1400s, the expansive Aztec Empire encircled Tlaxcala, cutting it off from trade – yet it remained an anomalous blip of defiance. Paleodiet analyses show how, with a lens of abundance, the Tlaxcalteca turned to their surrounding landscape for sustenance and sovereignty. 500 years later, descendants of the Tlaxcalteca form part of grassroots food sovereignty movements, which look to the landscape as the solution to contemporary ills such as diabetes, financial stress, and depression.
Through four chapters, the documentary follows the stories of Jaime and Adriana (Maguey growers), Dalia and Nicolasa (traditional chefs), Zeferino (a Nopal farmer) and Felipe (a household grower and archaeologist). Combining dietary isotope analyses with oral history interviews, the film bookends these stories with the filmmaker’s self-exploration as a Mexican-American archaeologist, seeking an alternative to the emotionally distant and isolated academic world, and an identity fragmented by colonialism. Viewing the land and its recipes as memory-keepers, these stories reclaim, revive, and transform possibilities for living in the present and looking towards the future – the past as a reminder of alternative ways to live in the present. For more information on the film, visit the film’s website.
This event is sponsored by La Casa, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Latino Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the Center for Documentary Research and Practice.