Tag Archives: South

THE ENSLAVED CHEFS WHO INVENTED SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

26 Jul

“We need to forget about this so we can heal,” said an elderly white woman, as she left my lecture on the history of enslaved cooks and their influence on American cuisine.  Something I said, or perhaps everything I said, upset her.

My presentation covered 300 years of American history that started with the forced enslavement of millions of Africans, and which still echoes in our culture today, from the myth of the “happy servant” (think Aunt Jemima on the syrup bottle) to the broader marketing of black servitude (as in TV commercials for Caribbean resorts, targeted at white American travelers). I delivered the talk to an audience of 30 at the Maier Museum of Art in Lynchburg, Virginia. While I had not anticipated the woman’s displeasure, trying to forget is not an uncommon response to the unsettling tale of the complicated roots of our history, and particularly some of our beloved foods.

So begins Kelley Fanto Deetz’s essay at Zocalo Public Square about slave chefs and Southern hospitality. You may read the entire essay here.

NEW BOOK ON TRUMP AND EVANGELICALS GETS IT MOSTLY RIGHT

17 Apr

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election (and since) many tried to answer the question, “Why would evangelicals support him?” According to the Pew Research Center 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, an astonishing margin given Trump’s lack of church involvement and his, um, complicated personal history. But few solid analyses have come from within the movement itself. Instead, most pundits have either treated evangelicalism as an oddity or revealed their own personal alienation from the movement.

Messiah College historian John Fea has earned the right to author a book on this topic. His research focuses on American Christianity, including his nuanced, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? that book put the lie to David Barton’s Christian nationalist mythology, and his critiques of evangelical writer Eric Metaxas, which earned a blocking on Twitter. Fea’s blog, “The Way of Improvement Leads Home,” enjoys wide appreciation. I consider John a friendly and admired acquaintance.

So begins Greg Carey’s friendly-yet-critical review of my friend John Fea’s new book Believe Me. You may read the entire review (at Religion Dispatches) here.

Rednecks: A Brief History

7 Apr

On the first day of class, my students often ask me, “Where are you from?” My southern accent throws them, I suppose, since we’re in a classroom in downtown Chicago.

For the past few years, I’ve responded, “Are you familiar with the reality TV series Duck Dynasty?” Most of them nod, wide-eyed. “I’m from that town,” I say. Then I add, “but don’t hold it against me.”

A couple of things are happening when I do this. First, I’m attempting to break the ice with these young adults by personalizing myself and revealing I’m up on current trends in reality television. Second, I’m also distancing myself from my hometown for fear that my incoming students will liken me to my televised counterparts: southern “rednecks.”

So begins Kelli Marshall’s fascinating brief history of the term “redneck.” You can read her JSTOR Daily post (including her discussion of the development of “postmodern rednecks”) here: Rednecks: A Brief History | JSTOR Daily.

Exploring the Past

Reading, Thinking, and Blogging about History

Enough Light

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't." - Blaise Pascal

Lenten Lamentations

Preparing to Participate in God's Mosaic Kingdom

The Text Message

Discoveries from processing and reference archivists on the job

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Wirelesshogan: Reflections from the Hogan

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

The Way of Improvement Leads Home

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

The Pietist Schoolman

The website and blog of historian Chris Gehrz

Native News Online

American Indian News

Reformed Journal: The Twelve

Reformed. Done Daily.

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by Alex Scarfe

blogwestdotorg.wordpress.com/

Thoughtful Conversation about the American West

Northwest History

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

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