Professor of African and African American Studies/English
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My most recent research Recipes for Respect (2019) sets out the development of varied strategies of Black authors for economic success and personal self-worth, whether in the early national period or the post Civil Rights era. Recipes for Respect reads twentieth century memoirs and 19th century cookbooks, best-selling novels and obscure hotel-keeping manuals, in order to interrogate and explicate successive and interrelated statements about being, if not eating like, an African American. By examining cookery and hospitality books alongside of acknowledged literary works like autobiographies and novels, enables Recipes for Respect to demonstrate how writing about food enables an identifiable African American identity, whether the author be a Pullman chef or a civil rights activist. Earlier publications explore how and why African American authors construct an identifiably Black literary consciousness.