The Gendered Feast: Experiencing a Georgian Supra

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Laura Joy Linderman


The supra is a traditionalized feast in post-Soviet Georgia characterized by abundant food and ritualized drinking. It is extremely common in social life, especially in rural Georgia. Secular rituals, social occasions, national and religious holidays and life cycle transitions are accompanied by the ubiquitous supra. The supra has been examined by anthropologists as a site for macro level analyses that put forward structural or cultural theories for the underlying meaning of this ritual-for-all-occasions. Women’s experiences of and roles in the supra have often been overlooked or misrepresented in these studies. In this thesis I investigate women’s varied roles at a supra and problematize the idea that the supra demonstrates a model of society, with a paragon of masculinity at the center. I question the static image of an idealized supra that is only capable of reproducing a particular cultural model and argue that the supra is flexibly employed with a great deal of social life being oriented around preparing and participating in supras. Women’s experiences of the supra (like men’s) is different depending on the type of supra, the other participants involved, the age of the woman, her class and her particular geographical location.

Keywords:  Post-Soviet, Georgia (Republic), Cultural Anthropology, Feast, Banquet, Ritual, Gender

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