Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies

First Advisor

Namita Dharia

Second Advisor

Avishek Ganguly

Third Advisor

Harini Nagendra


Commensality is more than just eating together at a shared table. "Who can eat with whom and what" is a divisive issue in India, where food and eating serve as functions of inclusion and exclusion. In this paper, I examine street food stalls in Jaipur as sites of eating together with strangers and ask, What forms of commensality do street food stalls enable? Can eating together on the street expand ideas about eating together in public? As part of my fieldwork in Jaipur, I observe the surroundings of street food stalls, participate in heritage food walks with guides, and document oral histories of street food vendors to demonstrate how accidental commensality emerges around these stalls. Using this research, I argue that the features of accessibility, belonging, and cultural memory, coupled with the affective dimensions of street food stalls, create intimacy and a feeling of mazaa that compels us to imagine an unexpected form of commensality through food.



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