College Lecture Series Features Professor Flammang on Table Conversations: Food, Politics and Civil Society

November 12, 2011

In today’s world of fast food and time-pressured living, people are spending less time at the dinner table enjoying the art of conversation. Janet Flammang, Professor at Lee and Seymour Graff University, Chair of the Political Science Department at Santa Clara University, explored the importance of mealtime rituals in her book, The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics and Civil Society. Flammang addressed this timely topic at Southern Vermont College on Tuesday, December 6, in a presentation entitled “Table Conversations: Good for You and Good for Democracy.”

From farmer’s markets to the blogs of international chefs, people today are being more mindful of the culture of how and what we eat. Flammang’s lecture suggests that this mindfulness is good not only for public and ecological health, but also for civic and democratic health. Flammang explains that table activities—including mealtime rituals of food preparation, serving and dining—lay the foundation for an education on the value of civility, the importance of a common good, and what it means to be a good citizen.

Part of the College’s themed series, Inspiring History: Shaping the Future, Flammang’s hour-long lecture was held in the Everett Theatre and was free and open to the public. A reception followed in the Burgdorff Gallery, and copies of her books were available for purchase and signing.
Professor Flammang is Chair of the Department of Political Science at Santa Clara University. In addition to The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics and Civil Society, Flammang has written numerous books and articles including Women’s Political Voice: How Women are Transforming the Practice and Study of Politics. Flammang is a member of the American Political Science Association’s Committee, Chair of the Committee on Assessing the Progress of Women in the Discipline for the Women’s Caucus for Political Science of the American Political Science Association, and President of the Women’s Caucus and Committee on the Status of Women for the Western Political Science Association. She also received a doctorate in Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of California at Los Angeles.

This lecture was sponsored by the SVC Campus Community Dinner Series and Sodexo. For more information, contact the SVC Communications Office at 802-447-6389/6388 or e-mail
The next lecture in the series will be February 7, 2012, with Glenn M. Andres, Professor, History of Art and Architecture, at Middlebury College, and Tyler Resch, Historian at the Bennington Museum, who will offer a presentation, entitled “The History of Everett Mansion.” The series concludes on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, with the lecture “On Being a Townie: Writing the Memoir” by author Andre Dubus III. Dubus III will speak about his latest work, the memoir Townie. This book will be available for purchase and signing by the author along with his other books: The Garden of Last Days, House of Sand and Fog, Bluesman, and The Cage Keeper and Other Stories.