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Edible Economies and Tasteful Rhetoric

Title: Edible Economies and Tasteful Rhetoric: Diet in the Transatlantic World during the Long Eighteenth Century.
Name(s): Phillips, Lindsey Nicole, author
Ward, Candace, professor directing dissertation
Munro, Martin, university representative
Hanson, Meegan Kennedy, committee member
McGregory, Jerrilyn, committee member
Silva, Cristobal, committee member
Department of English, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation resists the tendency to focus on metropolitan patterns of consumption of major export goods like sugar and tea in order to account for the laboring bodies producing these colonial commodities, which scholars such as Alan Bewell and Charlotte Sussman ignore in their discussion on the cultural and political discourse surrounding colonialism and eighteenth-century diet. The central premise of my dissertation revolves around creole food consumption and production. Creole, a geocultural designation, refers to a fusion of people, foods, and cultures in the Atlantic rim. In the eighteenth century, colonialism functioned as a burgeoning modern system, one where both the enslaved and colonists forged new identities and foodways. In pointing out the transatlantic relationship between foodways, this dissertation broadens the "Caribbean cultural paradigm," to borrow Maureen Warner-Lewis's phrasing, to include Africa, which is often omitted. In this project, I achieve two aims. First, by reading literary texts alongside other genres such as travel narratives, captivity narratives, medical documents, and cookbooks, I uncover literary tropes embedded in archival documents such as the use of sentimentality in eighteenth-century medical writings and travelogues. Secondly, my project, drawing on Paul Gilroy's Black Atlantic and notions of "rootlessness," reassesses the colonial past from a new angle--one of creation--thereby generating new questions of what it meant to consume a creole diet, how colonial labor and diet impacted eighteenth-century identities and markets, and how racialized dietary myths were created. In so doing, I do not ignore colonialism's violence but demonstrate that creative culinary acts were one response to this violence, thereby countering the hegemonic and single story of consumption and production that often arises out of colonial stereotypes and one-sided perceptions of labor and diet. Diet as an analytical tool calls for a re-evaluation of spatial, temporal, and geopolitical discourses. Engaging Leonard Tennenhouse's model of homeland as an unobtainable "geopolitical site" for displaced British American subjects, I extend the discussion to the creole subjects of the West Indies and explore how the literature of the Americas reveals an integration and slow shift in cultural perception through the culinary adaptations required in these new environments. The simultaneous need for the enslaved and Creoles to preserve "Old World" cultural practices both as a means to survive physically (e.g., depending on ackee for food) and culturally (e.g., using dance and drums in order to communicate) and to adapt to a new environment results in the creation of a "New World" geopolitical space within the Americas. Moreover, my dissertation offers critics a way to historicize the current global food crisis by examining the emergence of local food economies and dietary practices in the context of transatlantic markets and imperial violence.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-6984 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2012.
Date of Defense: October 10, 2012.
Keywords: cookery, dietary consumption, Enlightenment, postcolonial theory, subsistence agriculture, transatlantic
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Candace Ward, Professor Directing Dissertation; Martin Munro, University Representative; Meegan Kennedy Hanson, Committee Member; Jerrilyn McGregory, Committee Member; Cristobal Silva, Committee Member.
Subject(s): English literature
America -- Literatures
Composition (Language arts)
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Host Institution: FSU

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Phillips, L. N. (2012). Edible Economies and Tasteful Rhetoric: Diet in the Transatlantic World during the Long Eighteenth Century. Retrieved from