For release: November 5, 2008
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843
Frederick Kaufman will present a lecture based on his book A Short History of the American Stomach Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. in the Fogelman Executive Center, Room 136, on the University of
Memphis campus. The talk is free and open to the public.
Kaufman is a professor of English at the City University of New York and at CUNY’s
Graduate School of Journalism. In A Short History of the American Stomach, he explores America’s obsession with food, an obsession that dates back to the landing
of the Pilgrims on American soil. Publishers Weekly has called the book “a hip, journalistic approach to America's all-consuming relationship
to the gut, from Puritan rituals of fasting to the creation of the Food Network.”
Kaufman argues that the infusion of food into pop culture through cooking shows, cookbooks,
and the growing food culture industry on television and the Internet has made celebrities
of restaurants and chefs and at the same time has eroded the American diet, caused
wholesale damage to the agricultural industry, and shaped our perceptions of ourselves
and our bodies.
Kaufman’s talk is intended as a bookend to Eric Schlosser’s spring lecture based on
his book Fast Food Nation, the current common reading title at the University of Memphis. Both authors examine
the culture and politics of food and its impact on our communities. Their lectures
are part of a series of community conversations hosted by the Marcus W. Orr Center
for the Humanities focusing on the theme “Strangers…Neighbors…Aliens.” The series
is investigating what defines community, who is included and excluded, and what structural
forces are at play in determining these processes.
Kaufman has published two other works, Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Photographs and Memories and the novel Forty-two Days and Nights
on the Iberian Peninsula with Anís Ladrón.
The lecture is presented by the U of M Faculty Senate and the Marcus W. Orr Center
for the Humanities. For more information about events or programs of the Marcus Orr
Center, visit its Web site at http://cas.memphis.edu/isc/moch or call Jonathan Judaken at 901-488-7475.