Standing Joe: William Doak ’17 Brews Trilingual Honors Thesis from Chairless Italian Cafés

William Doak ’17 with Massimiliano Rosati from Gran’ Caffè Gambrinus in Naples

It was an observation made when passing through the Bologna airport — that its café, oddly, had no chairs — that led William Doak ’17 to write a trilingual 146-page honors thesis in English, Italian, and French.

The chairless café piqued Doak’s curiosity about why people stand up to drink their coffee in Italy, rather than sitting down as they do in neighboring France. That question led to a research project that covers the cultural history of French and Italian cafés, and how coffee drinking is tied up with modernism, industry, and the national identities of the two countries.

Read the story in Bowdoin News.

Bowdoin’s Lee on How Balzac’s Fantasy Travelog Redefines Realism

Michelle Lee

Postdoctoral fellow Michell Lee explains how the nineteenth-century French author’s foray into fictional travel writing “showed the world how the scope of realism could be expanded beyond its traditional, European boundaries.” Read more in Bowdoin News.

The Mold Transforming Japanese Cuisine (Atlantic)

Koji is a fungus found in soy sauce, miso, and sake. The mold, known for its toxicity, was domesticated by humans about 9,000 years ago. Though its closest relatives can be deadly, koji is nontoxic.

Originally used for alcohol, the fungus has been implemented by Asian chefs for centuries. Read more in The Atlantic.