Dr. Deetz discusses the role of archaeological investigation to debunk myths around enslaved cooks in the American south. Drawing from her book, <<Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine>>, Deetz interrogates the portrayal of the smiling images of “Aunt Jemima” and other historical and fictional black cooks found on various food products and in advertising. She draws upon archaeological evidence, cookbooks, plantation records, and folklore to present a nuanced study of the lives of enslaved plantation cooks from colonial times through emancipation and beyond, revealing how these men and women were literally “bound to the fire” and were nothing like their fictional depictions in food advertising.
Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz is Director of Education, Programming and Visitor Engagement at Stratford Hall Plantation in Virginia, Co-CEO History Arts and Science Action Network, and a Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. She holds degrees in African Diaspora Studies/Anthropology (Ph.D.) from the University of California at Berkeley; African American Studies (M.A.) from the University of California at Berkeley; Black Studies & History (B.A.) from the College of William and Mary. Her areas of specialization are African American history, material culture, archaeology, racial reconciliation, and restorative justice.
This lecture is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Society of the Archaeological Institute of America in cooperation with the UC Santa Barbara Departments of History, Art History & Architecture, and Classics.