(Posted October 24, 2017)

Huntingdon, Pa. -- On Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m., Michael Twitty will give a free, public lecture on the history of the south, based on his most recent book, “The Cooking Gene.” The event will take place in Alumni Hall, Brumbaugh Academic Center.

Twitty, who describes himself as “black, Jewish and gay,” is a published author, civil rights activist, and culinary historian. When Charlottesville was descended upon by white-nationalist protestors, Twitty went to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, dressed as a slave would have been, and cooked what they would have cooked. According to the article he wrote on Forward.com, it was to “remind people about the legacy of James Hemings, America’s first great gourmet cook and how enslaved people built a cuisine, a region and a country.”

“Twitty’s work is a great example of food as a liberal arts subject because he approaches it as food, but also as history,” says James Tuten, a professor of history who is organizing the lecture. “Twitty blends cultural and economic history and indicates how we can use food to analyze these two aspects of life. He wants to teach history and make people aware of where food comes from historically and culturally, but also challenge ideas about how race and southernness work as overlapping identities.”

Tuten invited Twitty to speak at the College for a variety of reasons, one of which is the growing interest in food as a subject, which Tuten evidenced by citing the recent increase in the number of food shows, documentaries and books. Tuten adds, “Twitty helps us move past food as a fact of life without meaning or history to see that it carries a past whether we knew it or not.”

Twitty will be stopping at Juniata as part of his book tour. He has been featured in various publications over the last few years, including Garden and Gun, Ebony, Saveur, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Local Palate. In 2016, Twitty was named a TED Fellow.

“Twitty’s work is a great example of food as a liberal arts subject because he approaches it as food, but also as history,” says James Tuten, a professor of history who is organizing the lecture. “Twitty blends cultural and economic history and indicates how we can use food to analyze these two aspects of life."

Twitty’s lecture is the most recent installment of Juniata’s Beyond Tolerance Series and is also funded by the Susan R. Malloy lectureship fund.

 

--Written by Isabella Bennett ’20-- 

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.