Author Grace M. Cho will discuss her memoir, Tastes Like War, which is part food memoir, part sociological investigation. The award-winning memoir is a hybrid text about her search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother’s schizophrenia, which she locates in the Korean War and its afterlives, as well as her family’s immigration experience to the U.S. In her mother’s final years, she learned to cook the dishes from her mother’s childhood, in order to invite the past into the present, and to hold space for her mother’s multiple voices. And over these shared meals, Grace discovered not only the things that broke her mother, but also the things that kept her alive.
Grace M. Cho is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Staten Island. She received a PhD in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center and an MEd from Harvard School of Education. Her work crosses disciplinary boundaries and seeks to engage popular audiences. From 2005 to 2007 she was a contributing performance artist for Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the Forgotten War, a collaborative art project based on the oral histories of Korean War survivors and their children.
Tastes Like War iswinner of the 2022 Asian/Pacific American Award in Literature, a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and a TIME and NPR Best Book of the Year in 2021.