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Potluck: The Role of Food in the Construction of Gullah Communities in South Carolina

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Abstract:

This paper explores the role of women’s knowledge and practice of food preparation in the elaboration and sustenance of Gullah culture. Gullah people are the descendents of slaves from the Senegambia region of West Africa who have created and sustained a unique culture utilizing memories and rituals from Africa in combination with resources found in the Americas. It focuses on the role of women in the culinary history of St. Helena Island, South Carolina rather than other areas of the Gullah/Geechee Corridor, which stretches along the coast from Wilmington, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. Concentrating on a smaller region allows for a better understanding of changes in Gullah culinary history over time, while also allowing for an investigation of the culinary connection between the Gullah and Sierra Leone.

Gullah women were critically important in the production of rice in this region. Judith Carney, Jennifer Morgan and other scholars have proven that women from West Africa, particularly Sierra Leone, were highly prized for the cultivation of rice in South Carolina. This thesis expands on this scholarship by exploring other ways women have contributed to the culinary history of the Gullah on St. Helena Island, as well as ways in which the ritualization of food facilitates social networking and identity formation among Gullah women. The paper provides a history of Gullah communities on St. Helena Island, including the importance of oral tradition in the passing on of tradition and ritual, especially those surrounding food cultivation and production.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435803_index.html
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MLA Citation:

White, Katie. "Potluck: The Role of Food in the Construction of Gullah Communities in South Carolina" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435803_index.html>

APA Citation:

White, K. , 2010-09-29 "Potluck: The Role of Food in the Construction of Gullah Communities in South Carolina" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435803_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper explores the role of women’s knowledge and practice of food preparation in the elaboration and sustenance of Gullah culture. Gullah people are the descendents of slaves from the Senegambia region of West Africa who have created and sustained a unique culture utilizing memories and rituals from Africa in combination with resources found in the Americas. It focuses on the role of women in the culinary history of St. Helena Island, South Carolina rather than other areas of the Gullah/Geechee Corridor, which stretches along the coast from Wilmington, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. Concentrating on a smaller region allows for a better understanding of changes in Gullah culinary history over time, while also allowing for an investigation of the culinary connection between the Gullah and Sierra Leone.

Gullah women were critically important in the production of rice in this region. Judith Carney, Jennifer Morgan and other scholars have proven that women from West Africa, particularly Sierra Leone, were highly prized for the cultivation of rice in South Carolina. This thesis expands on this scholarship by exploring other ways women have contributed to the culinary history of the Gullah on St. Helena Island, as well as ways in which the ritualization of food facilitates social networking and identity formation among Gullah women. The paper provides a history of Gullah communities on St. Helena Island, including the importance of oral tradition in the passing on of tradition and ritual, especially those surrounding food cultivation and production.


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