Photo of a woman surrounded by cooking supplies while holding eggs in one hand while pointing to a spot in a cookbook with the other

“Preparing the Table: Reconstituting Cultural Identity through Cookbooks”

Case Western Reserve University’s Department of English will host a lecture by graduate student Brita Thielen Friday, Dec. 6, from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. in the Guilford Hall parlor. Thielen will present “Preparing the Table: Reconstituting Cultural Identity through Cookbooks,” drawing from her dissertation in-progress as it focuses on three recent cookbooks: Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry (2014), Decolonize Your Diet by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel (2015) and The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman (2017). 

The authors of these cookbooks identify as members of different cultural communities within the U.S. and call for their readers to adopt indigenous foodways as part of a reclamation of physical and spiritual health. Thielen will argue that in order to achieve this persuasive goal, the authors construct a stable textual identity and ethos using rhetorics of healing, constitutive rhetoric, and utopian rhetoric. However, these cookbook authors are not just involved in a project of dietary change; rather, their rhetorical methods speak to a larger enactment of cultural identity in what she believes is an effort to reconstitute what it means to be African-American, Chicano/a and Native American.

This event is attached to the Neil MacIntyre Memorial Prize, an annual award that recognizes the best scholarly paper written by an English department graduate student. 

Refreshments will be served at 3 p.m.