CSEAS Lecture Series: Visisya Pinthongvijayakul

“Why Are Men into Raw Fish Consumption? Culinary Change and Masculinity in Rural Northeast Thailand”

Visisya Pinthongvijayakul
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Chandrakasem Rajabhat University

Dr. James B. Pick/Dr. Rosalyn Laudati Southeast Asia Fellow, Northern Illinois University


Northeast Thailand (Isan) is the region with the highest rate of liver fluke infestation, the resulting cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer), and consequent deaths in the world. Consuming fresh-water raw fish infected with liver fluke is a major cause of the malady. Existing medical research on cholangiocarcinoma frequently notes that men are exposed to more risk than women because they eat raw fish. This article asks a simple question: Why are men into raw fish dishes? Taking an ethnographic approach to the question, I followed my interlocutors’ fish foodways in an agrarian context. I participated in fishing, trading, cooking and eating with them. I talked with lower-income households in villages near Ubonrat Dam and Phong River in Khon Kaen Province between February 2019 and December 2020. I applied perspectives from the anthropology of food and gender studies to analyze my data. The talk demonstrates the ways in which culinary practices among men and women have responded to the challenges of modernization. Migration, religion, and the market economy have diminished male food culture. Raw fish foodways offer a utopian zone for the recovery of otherwise foreclosed homosocial spaces and thus preserve a certain understanding of masculinity.

Friday, October 13
Peters Campus Life Building 100 and online (registration required for online attendance: https://niu-edu.zoom.us/.../tZYkd-6rqT8jE9KbakB0wME5Z36N...)

Contact the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at cseas@niu.edu

Sponsored by the Dr. James B. Pick/Dr. Rosalyn Laudati Southeast Asia Fellowship, Northern Illinois University Libraries

Dial-In Information


Friday, October 13, 2023 at 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Peters Campus Life Building, 100
545 Lucinda Ave, DeKalb, IL 60115

Event Type

Lectures, Presentations and Workshops


Arts and Culture, Research, Academics, Diversity

Target Audience

Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, General Public, Prospective Students





Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University Libraries
Contact Name

Rachael Skog

Contact Email or Phone


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