Location: Bowdoin / Calendar


Sweet! Sweet! / Come, Come and Eat / Dear Little Girls / With Yellow Curls: Race and the Queer History of Eating in the Nineteenth Century - A Talk by Kyla Wazana Tompkins

  • 2/13/2013 | 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Location: Massachusetts Hall, Faculty Room
  • Event Type: Lecture

Sweet! Sweet! / Come, Come and Eat / Dear Little Girls / With Yellow Curls: Race and the Queer History of Eating in the Nineteenth Century - A Talk by Kyla Wazana TompkinsKyla Wazana Tompkins's talk asks us to consider the mouth as a sensory space, one that offers insight into new ideas of sex and sexuality in circulation in nineteenth-century America, and that invites new ways to think about embodiment, materiality and race. Engaging children's literature and early advertising culture, Tompkins discusses eating as an act that points to the mouth as not simply a passageway but as a place even a stage where transgressive and normative desires are acted out and displayed.

The act of eating is both erotic and violent, as one wholly consumes the object being eaten. At the same time, eating performs a kind of vulnerability to the world, revealing a fundamental interdependence between the eater and that which exists outside her body. Racial Indigestion (New York University Press, 2012), Tompkins' first book, explores the links between food and visual and literary culture in the nineteenth-century United States to reveal how eating produces political subjects by justifying the social discourses that create bodily meaning.

Tompkins is an Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at Pomona College, and a former food writer and restaurant critic. She writes about food, eating, sexuality, race and nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, culture, film, and dance.

Learn more at Tompkins's site, Racial Indigestion.

Sponsored by the English Department and the Africana Studies Program.