Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power / Edition 1

Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power / Edition 1

by Psyche A. Williams-Forson
     
 

ISBN-10: 080785686X

ISBN-13: 9780807856864

Pub. Date: 05/29/2006

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

Chicken—both the bird and the food—has played multiple roles in the lives of African American women from the slavery era to the present. It has provided food and a source of income for their families, shaped a distinctive culture, and helped women define and exert themselves in racist and hostile environments. Psyche A. Williams-Forson examines the

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Overview

Chicken—both the bird and the food—has played multiple roles in the lives of African American women from the slavery era to the present. It has provided food and a source of income for their families, shaped a distinctive culture, and helped women define and exert themselves in racist and hostile environments. Psyche A. Williams-Forson examines the complexity of black women's legacies using food as a form of cultural work. While acknowledging the negative interpretations of black culture associated with chicken imagery, Williams-Forson focuses her analysis on the ways black women have forged their own self-definitions and relationships to the "gospel bird."

Exploring material ranging from personal interviews to the comedy of Chris Rock, from commercial advertisements to the art of Kara Walker, and from cookbooks to literature, Williams-Forson considers how black women arrive at degrees of self-definition and self-reliance using certain foods. She demonstrates how they defy conventional representations of blackness and exercise influence through food preparation and distribution. Understanding these complex relationships clarifies how present associations of blacks and chicken are rooted in a past that is fraught with both racism and agency. The traditions and practices of feminism, Williams-Forson argues, are inherent in the foods women prepare and serve.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807856864
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
05/29/2006
Edition description:
1
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,051,544
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

1We called ourselves waiter carriers13
2"Who dat say chicken is dis crowd" : black men, visual imagery, and the ideology of fear38
3Gnawing on a chicken bone in my own house : cultural contestation, black women's work, and class80
4Traveling the chicken bone express114
5Say Jesus and come to me : signifying and church food135
6Taking the big piece of chicken165
7Still dying for some soul food?186
8Flying the coop with Kara Walker199
Epilogue : from train depots to country buffets219

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