The SFA Take: Back To School

Today, cheerful greetings echo up the staircase to SFA World Headquarters as masters students at the Center for Study of Southern Culture greet their fellow classmates and inquire about their summers. A casual lunch welcomes newcomers and gathers second-years this afternoon; Monday morning, they hit the ground running.

As an institute of the University of Mississippi, SFA applies academic rigor to a field that some perceive as trivial or not quite ‘serious’. We aim to prove otherwise.

At the forefront of that campaign is Dr. Catarina Passidomo, our foodways professor, whose Intro to Southern Foodways syllabus maps out a solid foundation for the field. (It was also one of our most popular posts of last year!)

This semester, we feature Dr. Passidomo’s course, The South in Food, a seminar for undergraduate Southern Studies majors and minors primarily (and others interested in a more advanced Southern Studies class)In addition to delving deep into questions of authenticity, social justice, gender and sexuality, and much more, the course also models how educators may use SFA content as a teaching tool in the classroom.

In coming weeks, we’ll highlight other food studies programs around the nation. Stay tuned.

The South in Food

Passidomo-200x301This course will explore Southern culture and identity through the lens of foodways. For our purposes, foodways are what people eat (or do not eat), why and how they eat what they eat, and what it means. Studying foodways offers insight into everyday life, ritual, social interactions, and other cultural phenomena. By studying food (and eating, and agriculture) as systems, we can also gain insight into broader patterns of power, identity formation and maintenance, and the meaning and importance of particular places. By placing the study of foodways within the context of “The South,” we can better understand (and, perhaps, complicate) what, if anything, makes that place unique. Because the study of foodways is highly interdisciplinary, we will read and consider works spanning several disciplines and methodological approaches. In addition to weekly reading, we will listen to podcasts, read and listen to oral histories, and watch films. And, we will eat, of course!

Part I: Southern Food in History

Southern Food foundations
Egerton, Southern Food
Lewis, “What is Southern?”
Lefler, “Introduction” to Southern Foodways and Culture

Early Southern Foodways: Native South/Plantation South
Green, “Mother corn and the Dixie Pig: Native Food in the Native South”;
Wood and Lowery, “As We Cooked, We Lived”
Ferris, Part I: Early South-Plantation South
Gravy podcast, “Adaptation, Survival, Gratitude”

African American Foodways
Opie, Hog and Hominy
Gravy podcast: “The Jemima Code”

Part II: “New” Southern Foodways

Agriculture
Ferris, Chs. 7 and 11
Daniel, “Farmland Blues: The Legacy of USDA Discrimination”
Coates, “The Case for Reparations”
Estabrook, “The Price of Tomatoes”
Gravy Podcast: “Fighting for the Promised Land”

Gender and Sexuality
Engelhardt, “Moonshine: Drawing a Bead on Southern Food and Gender”
McKeithan, “Every Ounce a Man’s Whiskey?”
Sharpless, “She Ought to Have Taken Those Cakes”
Ferris, Ch. 8
Gravy podcast: “Wanting the Bourbon You Can’t Have”
Gravy podcast, “Coming Out Meatless”

Race and Class
Ferris, Chs. 15-17
Williams-Forson, “More Than Just the ‘Big Piece of Chicken’”
Latshaw, “Food for Thought: Race, Region, Identity, and Foodways”
Henderson, “ ‘Ebony, Jr! and “Soul Food’”
Hubbs, “Documenting Hunger” (optional)
Gravy podcast: “Fried Chicken: A Complicated Comfort Food”
Gravy podcast: “What’s Growing in Mossville?”

Region: Appalachia and the Lowcountry (and a taste of New Orleans)
Ferris, Ch. 10
Corriher, “Maggie and Buck”
Engelhardt, “Appalachian Chicken and Waffles”
Black, “The Next Big Thing in American Regional Cooking: Humble Appalachia”
Bilger, “True Grits”
Gravy podcast: “Red Beans, Red Wine, and Rebuilds”

Part III: Southern (Foodways) Futures

Global South
Clune, “Tasting Laos in the North Carolina Mountains”
Kelting, “Performing Multicultural Futures on Atlanta’s Buford Highway”
Olsson, “Your Dekalb Farmers’ Market”
Gravy podcast: “Dinner at the Patel Motel”
Gravy podcast: “Hip Hop to Bibimbap”

Nostalgia, Branding, and Authenticity
Atkins-Sayre and Stokes, “Crafting the Cornbread Nation”
Brown, “Biscuit Revivalism”
Kelting, “The Entanglement of Nostalgia and Utopia in Contemporary Southern Food Cookbooks”
Edge and Wey, “Who Owns Southern Food?”
Twitty, “Ole Missus vs. Mammy: Who Owns Southern Food?”
Gravy podcast: “The New Old Country Store”

Research Methods
Engelhardt, “Redrawing the Grocery”
Evans, “Chance Meetings and Back Roads”
Stanonis, “Serving Up the American South”
Smith and Romine, Call for Proposals: “Against Cornbread Nationalism”
Sara Wood, “The SFA Take: Keeping in Touch”
Writing Workshop: Bring draft (at least 5 pages) of final paper to class

A Novel!
Truong, Bitter in the Mouth