Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.9 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

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Kyla Wazana Tompkins is Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women's Studies at Pomona College. She is a former journalist and restaurant critic.


"Bold and brilliant."--Journal of American History
"The best moments in Racial Indigestion come not in the large, embracing statements of cultural analysis but in Tompkinss close and persuasive textual readings."--American Quarterly
"Racial Indigestionis a subtle and wide-ranging study that will be of interest to scholars in nineteenth-century literature, critical race theory, American studies, food studies, and consumer cultures more generally. The originality and depth of the analysis ensures thatRacial Indigestionwill be a key reference work for years to come."--Black Cultural Studies
"Highly ambitious and fascinating work."--Naomi Lesley "Children's Literature Association Quarterly "
"Kyla Wazana Tompkins's study on eating in nineteenth-century America is mesmerizing. From the playful literary history of children's tales in the antebellum period to the tightly woven cultural analysis of chromo-lithographed trade cards for food products in the Gilded Age, Tompkins convincingly makes the case that eating as a social practice was inextricably tangled with the construction and performance of nineteenth-century American identities."--WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly
"Racial Indigestion is as creative as it is theoretically rigorous and archivally grounded. Tompkins sets forth a marvelous, fruitful array of analytic sites and clever juxtapositions, tracing the politics inherent in the decline of the hearth and the rise of stoves, reimagining the mouth as the window to an alimentary politics, and tracking the post-Reconstruction politics of trade cards. The connections she makes between eating and vernacular culture make the book satisfyingly literary, even as it is so clearly a stellar work of cultural studies."--Elizabeth Freeman, author of Time Binds
"A dazzlingly original and important contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century American literature and culture. It brings together the still-emergent field of food studies with Americanist literary and cultural studies, but not in order to & apply a set food studies methodology to literature, or merely to trace a theme. Tompkins brings a new lens to bear on the cultural forms of a particular time and place, resulting in new insights into familiar texts but also in new ways of seeing archives that may not have seemed worth further exploration."--Glenn Hendler, Fordham University
"Racial Indigestion provides a highly accessible and well theorized approach to tracing the intersecting resonances between the orality, alimentary, and eroticism of the mouth in literary representation. It will be of great interest to scholars of food studies, African-American studies, and nineteenth-century American literature."--Journal of American Culture
"An intrepidly researched meditation on the assertion that 'eating is central to the performance production of raced and gendered bodies in the nineteenth century' (p. 7), Racial Indigestiondeserves an enthusiastic readership among scholars in fields ranging from American literary, cultural, and food studies to gender, sexuality, race, and performance theory."--Doris Witt "New England Quarterly "
"This text is one of the most theoretically groundbreaking and important 'food studies' texts to date."--H-Net Reviews
"Five dense chapters, chronologically arranged, cover a great deal of ground....The best part of Racial Indigestionis a long final chapter on an archival trove of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century chromolithographed trade cards advertising a variety of food products. The cards are remarkable in the variety of racial actors and scenarios they showcase, and so, simply as an act of archival recovery alone, the chapter performs a most useful service. But Tompkins brings to these cards an analytic subtlety that is little short of dazzling. Refusing to read them as in any way self-evident, she draws attention to their embeddedness in the idioms of vaudeville, minstrelsy, carnival, and other performative traditions."--Parama Roy "Journal of American Studies "
"Tompkins' arguments centre around the triad of eating, racial formation and political culture. However, she provides great depth and range to these ideas through the historically rich contextualisation of her artefacts and her elegant articulation of the cultural significance of her analyses."--Tisha Dejmanee, Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association