Roti as Care, as Craft, as Community


Media is loading

Type of Work


Publication Date

Summer 8-15-2021


Through a multidisciplinary feminist ethnography on roti, this submission showcases research by the Roti Collective research team and their study of roti as material culture, as embodied history, and as everyday care through complex histories of South Asian migration and displacement within the context of colonialism and empire. Based on multilayered storytelling and multimodal methods, the team aims to co-create a capacious dialogue to reveal the hidden insights of roti teaches us about identity, history, diaspora, and our relationships to each other. This project is an opportunity to highlight the voices of Indo-Guyanese migrants who have created community in New York, through food and other cultural practices. Roti making serves as a familiar routine for Indo-Guyanese diasporic women in NY. The act of producing and consuming roti is also a form of gendered labor that holds implicit meanings about the woman’s place in the family and the expectations of Indo-Guyanese women among the larger community. Though the act of making roti, and the messages that accompany it, have changed and been diluted throughout the migratory process, roti still serves as a strong cultural symbol and practice for Indo-Guyanese diasporic women in the United States. Roti Archaeology highlights roti in multicultural diasporas as a way of knowing and tracing underrepresented histories and labor migrations of Tamil people through South and Southeast Asia. It centers diasporic restaurants as archaeological excavation sites where these histories can be uncovered through the narratives told by their dishes as historic artifacts.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Group Grant

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Mariam Durrani

This document is currently not available here.