Thursday, January 22, 2009


African food historians (historiographers?), I just discovered a great resource. In 2005, the School of Humanities of the University of Western Australia archived an African food-themed issue (Number 15, September 2000) of Mots Pluriels, an online journal published from 1996 to 2003. Joan Wardrop was the guest editor for this issue of the bilingual journal (French and English), and it includes some terrific articles on African food culture, food in literature, and food and identity, as well as the politics of food. I'm now working my way through them, which include, among others:

Eating raw nothing, committing suicide: The politics and semiotics of food culture by Obododimma Oha

Nourriture et identification sociale au Nigéria de Françoise Ugochukwu

Talking food: a conversation about Zimbabwe, cooking, eating, and social living by Gertie Bonzo, Norma Kitson and Joan Wardrop

We eat out of the same pot: Poison, Food and Power in colonial Libreville c.1865-1921 by Jeremy Rich

"La vie est belle": Everyday life under Article 15 by Janice Spleth

Tropismes alimentaires dans "Enfance" de Nathalie Sarraute d'Hélène Jaccomard

Survie et création: la nourriture dans les contes louisianais et martiniquais de Valérie Loichot

La femme et la nourriture dans l'oeuvre de Gérard Etienne d'Isabelle Gros

Les gargotes de la liberté de Germain Sylaï Gotto, David Ndachi Tagne, Pierre Barrot et Jacques Douti Soutou

L'amour entre par la cuisine Une nouvelle de Kesney Mikolo (Congo)

L'estude de Gargantua, selon la discipline de ses precepteurs sorbonagres de François Rabelais

L'Afrique côté cuisines. Regards africains sur l'alimentation. Compte rendu de Jean-Marie Volet

I only wish I could read French better! Be sure to check this archive out now, in case it disappears in the near future. The archived issue also links to Safundi, the online journal that in 2000 published and now sells a classic article that helped me make sense of the historical treatment of African cuisine, Lynne Huston's "Serpent's Teeth in the Kitchen of Meaning: A Theory of South African Culinary Historiography.

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