Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century

Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century

by Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Lauri Umansky

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Overview

Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century by Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Lauri Umansky

The act of eating is both erotic and violent. In eating, one wholly consumes the object being eaten; at the same time eating enacts a kind of vulnerability to the world, revealing a fundamental interdependence between the eater and that which exists outside her body. Racial Indigestion explores the links between food, visual, and literary culture in the nineteenth-century United States to reveal how eating, in its many forms, is deployed to shape racial and gendered citizenship in the early history of American biopolitics.

Combing through a visually stunning and rare archive of children's literature, architectural history, domestic manuals, dietetic tracts, novels, and advertising, Racial Indigestion tells the story of the consolidation of nationalist mythologies of whiteness via the erotic politics of consumption. Less a history of commodities than a history of eating itself, the book seeks to understand how eating became an act of political and cultural agency variously linked to vice, virtue, race and class inequality and, finally, the queer pleasures and pitfalls of a burgeoning commodity culture. In so doing, Racial Indigestion sheds light on contemporary "foodie" culture's vexed relationship to nativism, nationalism, and race privilege.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814770030
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 07/30/2012
Series: America and the Long 19th Century Series
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

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.

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