Sarah Tracy is a historian of the recent past and of the United States in the world. Her forthcoming book project, “Delicious: A History of Monosodium Glutamate and Umami, the Fifth Taste Sensation,” examines two interrelated objects: the global commodity and flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), and umami (roughly translated from the Japanese as “delicious”), the fifth basic taste that MSG is understood to confer. This project situates umami within translations of the life sciences between Japan and the United States and shows how the metabolics of taste are inseparable from global capitalisms. It brings feminist STS into conversation with sensory history, cultural history, and post-colonial studies to foster cross-disciplinary insight into how foods mediate health and happiness across gender, race, class. Tracy’s research has been published in “Global Food History, Radical History Review, The Senses & Society, and is forthcoming from Food, Culture, and Society.”
Tracy will hold a joint appointment with CSW and the Institute for Society and Genetics.