Kaitlyn Haynal heads to Greece on Nationality Rooms Scholarship

This summer, PhD student Kaitlyn Haynal will spend five weeks in Greece researching expert depictions of cultural authenticity relating to the Greek Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Practicing a Mediterranean diet has gained popularity worldwide for those wishing to unlock the secret to health and longevity in their own lives. At the heart of this project is a juxtaposition of an ancient lifestyle and a contemporary trend. The former celebrates ideals of authenticity, slowness, community, and hard work; the latter all too often seeks rapid commercialization, reproduction, and short-term results.

Some questions she will explore are: How do experts translate and articulate cultural ways of knowing to broader populations around the world, in more urban and modernized Greek spaces, and tourists who visit Greece, who wish to experience a Greek Mediterranean diet and lifestyle? Can what “the people” know there and then be compared to what “the people” know here and now? What is expertise on the topic of a life well lived? How do we define cultural authenticity?

Kaitlyn will spend time notable time in Athens and Ikaria, and also visit several other islands. In Athens, she will be visiting with professors at the University of Athens, the Museum of Greek Gastronomy, the large food markets, and participate in food and culture tours. The majority of her trip will be spent on the quiet island Ikaria, recently popularized for its significant population of centenarians, where she will gather oral histories from the local population. Along the way, she plans to incorporate brief visits to several other islands to investigate unique pockets of Greek culture and diet, including visits to olive farms and vineyards. This trip will contribute to Kaitlyn’s dissertation research on expertise, authority, authenticity, and culture.