Please excuse cross listings. This is a final reminder for the webinar Cookbooks, Colonialism, and Climate Change presented by SLA Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Resources Division and Michigan Chapter. Hope to see you on Wednesday at 3pm EST!When: Wednesday, September 25: 3-4pm EST
Cookbooks, Colonialism, and Climate Change
Tad Boehmer, MSU Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections Cataloger
Jessica Martin, MSU African Studies Librarian and Curator of Africana and International Cookbooks
The adoption of western foods into the diets of colonized peoples was an organic process. Changing foodways were often not forced, but rather changed through a variety of more implicit mechanisms. Curriculum, in both secondary schools and special programs, played an important role, as did the foods increasingly available in shops and the influence of domestic servitude on learned recipes and behaviors. Traditional foods were still an important part of local foodways, but they had often evolved, and in some cases were replaced or added to by very western food items. We argue that cookbooks provide a critical lens to our understanding of how global colonialism changed existing foodways, leading to a greater impact of climate change on postcolonial societies.
In this talk, we will first describe the ways that colonialism, including settler colonialism, implicitly and explicitly changed the ways in which people procured, prepared, and consumed food. Second, investigate the ways in which these changed food patterns leave postcolonial societies more vulnerable to climate change impacts on food supply. Finally, how cookbooks demonstrate how foodways are changing today, as individuals fight back against climate change and attempt to get back to indigenous foodways. The items we will discuss all come from the Michigan State University Libraries' Special Collections, and were produced in a wide variety of colonial and postcolonial societies in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America. Nearly all are original, though in some cases they are reprints, and many of them are community cookbooks, that is, they were produced by and for particular groups, like churches and women's groups.