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J. Dickinson – Language, Culture and Smak

About this blog

Posted: June 28th, 2012 by jadickin

I am a linguistic anthropologist who does fieldwork in Ukraine.  While my main research interests lie at the intersection of economic and linguistic anthropology, for example studying narratives of the transformation of work in post-Soviet Ukraine, or in a newer project on language and print advertising, I have always been fascinated with the role that food played in the maintenance of social relationships during the Soviet period (when I did some fieldwork in Russia as well) and in the post-Soviet period.  I do some fieldwork in urban areas, but I have also spent quite a bit of time in small villages and experienced the intense seasonality of cooking and eating there.  In this blog I will be posting about language, about my experiences with contemporary Ukrainian culture, and, at least sometimes, about Ukrainian food and drink.  The name of the blog, “Language, Culture and Smak” might seem a bit strange, but “smak” is the Ukrainian word for “taste or flavor” and the verb “smakuvaty” has a broad range of meanings from “to taste” to “to make someone else want to eat” to “to savor or enjoy.”  I have always loved the overlap of these meanings as they demonstrate the centrality of “taste” to Ukrainian life.


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