Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Hillary Elkund

Comparative History of Ideas with Departmental Honors


1999 Fellows

Travel Locations: Chile

Eklund is fascinated by the close relationship between cooking and storytelling, the subject of many novels she has read. In her proposal Hilary wrote, “there is something magical about food, about the lengths to which humans will go to make their survival palatable, spicy, pleasurable. To prepare food is, in many ways to create culture and to facilitate the sharing of stories.” Hilary will eat her way through Chile, exploring the cultural importance of food and stories.

Alumni Reflections

How did the Bonderman impact your life?

“The Bonderman did so much more than introduce me to another culture. I gained independence and an ability to make and sustain connections with people across linguistic, cultural, social, and generational divides. My experience shaped how I understand travel: not as a collection of places visited but as a series of relationships that, each in their own small way, have the power to make the world less violent and more joyful.”

What are you doing now?

“I’m writing a book about wetlands in literary history in the 16th and 17th centuries. Although Chile doesn’t figure in my research, I’m using the Spanish I learned to read and write about Mexico and Florida.”