Faculty Lecture Series
Cooking, Cosmetics, and ColonialismPlease join the Center for Research and Creative Activities for the first panel in the series, “Cooking, Cosmetics, and Colonialism,” featuring Professors Keja Valens and Kimberly Poitevin. Keja Valens is a professor in the English Department and the Graduate Coordinator for the Masters of English Program. She teaches and writes on Caribbean literature, literatures of the Americas, feminisms, literary and queer theory, and food writing. Professor Valens will be discussing her manuscript Caribbean Cookbooks: Culinary Colonialism and Recipes for Independence. “Caribbean cookbooks contend with the layered and uneven pasts of settler colonialism, genocide, slavery, and forced and voluntary migration that indelibly mark and shape culinary practices and render impossible the often singular or straightforwardly ancestral claims to Caribbean tradition endemic to early articulations of Caribbean culture. While scholars have largely imagined Caribbean nations as public productions of male voices in politics, theory, and culture, Caribbean Cookbooks’ focus on cookbooks (written by both men and women) locates Caribbean culture and its concoction in domestic spaces that are gendered female and that negotiate race, language, class in particularly domestic ways.” Kimberly Poitevin is a professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Salem State. Her manuscript Women, Cosmetics, and Origins of White Supremacy, attempts to answer two significant questions in the field. First, how did the English begin to perceive of themselves as a "white" people who were superior to nonwhites? And secondly, what roles did English women play in the development of racism and ideas about race in the early modern world? Using a variety of literary and historical materials, the manuscript traces the development of ideas about whiteness and cosmetics over time, from the 1550's until 1660 (the English Restoration), particularly as they intersect with emerging discourses of race and nation.