Cornell University's Department of Performing and Media Arts has named Sahar Tavakoli as the recipient of the 2018 Marvin Carlson Award for Best Student Essay in Theatre or Performance for her paper, “The Butcher, the Baker, the Policy Maker: Food Politics and the Making of ‘Camp Nationalism.’”
On being named this year’s awardee, Tavakoli says, “I’m thrilled to have been awarded the Marvin Carlson award for this paper. I’m grateful to the PMA department for supporting and encouraging the work of students outside of PMA -- such as myself — and particularly grateful to Sara Warner, who has been my instructor in each of the PMA courses I have taken, and whose patience was an essential component in the writing of this (somewhat bonkers) essay.”
Regarding her submission, Tavakoli states that, “The paper I’ve submitted was an attempt at better understanding the place of movements such as Slow Food and the Arc of Taste - particularly in Italy but also in other parts of the European Union - in the development of policy decisions that not only equate what we eat with who we are, but also with who we might be made to be.”
“The committee was unanimous in its decision this year,” said Warner. “We found Sahar’s wry and erudite paper both stylistically engaging and impressive in its efforts to address rarely linked theoretical and cultural constructs. This delicious essay reflects solid research, absorbing writing, and innovative engagement with performance studies analysis. I won’t speak for my colleagues, but I, personally, will never look at ham the same way again.”
Tavakoli is third-year Ph.D. student in Science and Technology Studies, whose previous work has looked at the function of hospital gowns in the hierarchal working of clinical spaces, what the act of Elvis Tribute Performance might offer us in trying to better understand the development and dissemination of model organisms in biological sciences, and, more recently, how an STS-tinged reading of Peter Handke’s Offending the Audience might offer new perspectives in the Sociology of Place and semiotic approaches to Social Studies of Technologies.
The Marvin Carlson Award honors CUNY Professor Marvin Carlson and was first presented by the Department of Performing and Media Arts in 2009. Carlson earned a PhD in Drama and Theatre from Cornell University in 1961, where he also taught for a number of years. He is currently the Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Comparative Literature, and Middle Eastern Studies at the Graduate Centre, CUNY.