Congratulations to Ryan Whibbs for the successful defense of his dissertation!

Title: “God sends meate but the divell sends cookes”: Cooks Working in French and English Great Households, c.1350-c.1650.

Abstract: This dissertation analyzes newly uncovered archival data and printed primary-source material related to French and English cooks employed in great households between 1350 and 1650. I assert that medieval and early modern French and English great household kitchens operated on similar brigade-style kitchen management systems, and that their survival calls into question notions of “revolution” in pre-modern culinary styles.

In order to clarify the nature of French and English haute food-habit evolution across the longue durée, Part I opens with a new, quantitative analysis of medieval and early modern cookery collections. Data indicates that food habits were not static in either France or England before the mid-seventeenth-century, calling into question the degree to which shifts associated with the mid-seventeenth-century French “revolution in taste” represent a departure from the many culinary evolutions that were already ongoing before the alleged revolution. Part II, building on cookery-collection findings, compares cookbook-data findings to data extracted from French and English household diet accounts. As the accounts show, great-household cooks did not confine themselves to the high-status ingredient corpora that cookbooks would lead us to believe, but instead specialized in cooking a range of higher- and lower-end dishes that combined all types of available ingredients. Part III surveys management hierarchies of great household kitchens, and the relationship of great household cooks to local culinary guilds. Far from being invented by Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) as is often alleged, the brigade de cuisine was present as a management model in the kitchens of medieval and early modern great households.

The brigade de cuisine’s survival over the longue durée reflects its adaptability to a wide variety of professional circumstances, and supports a model of continuing, gradual incorporation of culinary innovation before and after the mid-seventeenth century.

Anon. Cooks working at the Filed of the Cloth of Gold, The Field of the Cloth of Gold (detail) c. 1545Anon. Cooks Working at The Field of the Cloth of Gold (detail form The Filed of the Cloth of Gold), c. 1545.

Supervisory Committee:
Elizabeth S. Cohen (supervisor)
Mark Jurdjevic
Jeanette Neeson

Defense Committee:
Richard Hoffman (chair)
David Goldstein (internal)
Timothy Tomasik (external)

Ryan, way to go, good luck and many thanks for everything!

From all of us : )

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Pics from the Book and Bake Sale!

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Book and Bake Sale – Feb 3-5

Book and Bake Sale

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Historians’ Craft – Prof. Virginia Aksan – Jan. 21

Aksan - invitation

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Happy Holidays and congratulations to our post-comps fellows!

Happy Holidays

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Historians’ Craft – Prof. Margaret Schotte – Dec 4

Schotte - invitation

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Congratulations to Katie Bausch for the successful defense of her dissertation!

TitleHe Thinks He’s Down: White Appropriations of Black Masculinities in the Civil Rights Era, 1945-1979.

Abstract“He Thinks He’s Down” examines the ways in which a significant and influential collection of white artists and activists in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, seeking an alternative to hegemonic white middle-class masculinity, appropriated imaginary black masculinities into their lives and work. The dissertation demonstrates that during the civil rights era images of black men circulated widely in U.S. popular culture, in part because of the acceleration of the black freedom struggle. Media depictions of black men engaging in struggles for civil rights, integration, self-determination, and the end of white supremacy highlighted their rebelliousness, strength, freedom, and power. In this same moment, many white middle-class men felt anxious, disempowered, insecure, and disillusioned with norms of middle-class manhood, especially in the context of a growing white-collar economy, the nuclear arms race, suburbanization, and political corruption. These emotions were expressed in various popular culture forums, including literature, political movements, magazines and films.

“He Thinks He’s Down” argues that one strategy adopted by white artists and activists to reinvigorate white middle-class masculinity was the appropriation of imaginary characteristics of black masculinity circulating in media, including rebelliousness, strength, freedom, and power.  The four case studies examined here—Beat writers, Students for a Democratic Society activists, Playboy fashion editors, and Blaxploitation film directors—show that the artistic and political appropriations over the course of the period changed as the images of black men in the media varied, but that they nevertheless had similar consequences. Though often celebrating the strength of black masculinity, they ultimately reduced black manhood to a series of consumable images, perpetuated many racist stereotypes, silenced the role of black women and black femininities, and reinforced the structurally-based privileges that were denied to black men to either accept or reject hegemonic masculinity.

Supervisory Committee:
Marc Stein (supervisor)
Molly Ladd-Taylor
Michele Johnson

Defense Committee:
Victoria Wolcott (external)
Gamal Abdel-Shehid (internal/external)
Anne Rubenstein (Dean’s rep/chair)

Katie, good luck and many thanks for years of great involvement and contribution!

From all of us : )

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