What if Ennis and Jack had fished? A Seminar with Professor John Coveney

For the October Food Values Research Group Seminar, we are pleased to present:

What if Ennis and Jack had fished? Brokeback Mountain revisited for commensality, companionship and conviviality.

Professor John Coveney, Flinders University

Professor John Coveney, Flinders University

The book and movie, Brokeback Mountain, provides readers and viewers with the development of a love story between two men, Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist. Their relationship begins while they both undertake summer work taking care of sheep flocks in the Wyoming high country, Brokeback Mountain. The narrative tells the story of the development of Ennis and Jack’s on-going relationship over the next 20 years. Ennis and Jack’s plans for a ménage à deux are thwarted by prevailing homophobia; so to be together, the two men arrange annual sporadic assignations in various parts of the Wyoming mountain ranges. Ennis’s excuse for taking these times away from home is that he and Jack are ‘going fishing’. Alma, Ennis’s wife, suspects that fishing was never part of Ennis and Jack’s mountain activities when she discovers that the fishing creel containing the necessary tackle to catch fish was never opened during any of the men’s high country expeditions. The Brokeback Mountain short story by Annie Proulx and the film of the same name directed by Ang Lee have won highest acclaim for the portray of Ennis and Jack’s complicated relationship and its tragic denouement.

But what might the story have been if Ennis and Jack had fished? How might their relationship developed had their food been captured, prepared, cooked and shared at mealtimes? Might this have brought forth another kind of love between them; ‘agape’ love – a love through charity, benevolence, fulfillment and sheer delight through the act of sharing food? Australian gastronomer, Michael Symons, contends that sharing food with others is one of the highest symbols of agape love because of the overt display of selflessness and benevolence. Thus by sharing their food, could Ennis and Jack have developed another kind of companionship – one accentuating affection, tenderness and fondness – to augment their eros love? Symons’ work complements the current research interests in the importance of commensality and conviviality especially developed that by Fischler and colleagues.

This paper will explore the relationships made possible through the development of food sharing, companionship and conviviality.

Professor John Coveney is Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University. Earlier in his career, Professor Coveney worked as a leading nutritionist and dietitian addressing regional, indigenous and international health issues. Professor Coveney has published more than 150 papers, sole-authored a number of books and worked on major international projects and collaborations attracting significant research and grant funding. He has research and education interests in public health nutrition; history of food and health; food policy; and social and cultural factors that influence food patterns and food intake.

When: Friday, 21st of October, 1-2 PM

Where: Ira Raymond Room, Barr Smith Library, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide (click here for campus map)

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