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About Kelley Fanto Deetz
Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz is the Director of Programming, Education, and Visitor Engagement at Stratford Hall (RELMA). She holds a B.A. in Black Studies from The College of William and Mary, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in African American/Diaspora Studies from U.C. Berkeley, and was a professional cook before becoming an academic. She specializes in early African Diaspora culture and archaeology, slavery, visual and material culture, and public history. She has worked as a historical consultant for television, museums, and for the film The Birth of a Nation. Deetz partnered with National Geographic to produce the documentary film Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner (National Geographic Channel), and authored the cover story for the National Geographic History Magazine entitled Nat Turner’s Bones: Reclaiming an American Rebel. Her new book Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine was named one of the top ten books on food of 2017 by the Smithsonian Magazine. Her latest piece, African Odyssey: The Epic Journey of Virginia's First Africans, was published as one of the cover stories in the July/August 2019 issue of National Geographic History Magazine.
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In grocery store aisles and kitchens across the country, smiling images of "Aunt Jemima" and other historical and fictional black cooks can be found on various food products and in advertising. Although these images are sanitized and romanticized in American popular culture, they represent the untold stories of enslaved men and women who had a significant impact on the nation's culinary and hospitality traditions even as they were forced to prepare food for their oppressors.
Kelley Fanto Deetz draws upon archaeological evidence, cookbooks, plantation records, and folklore to present a nuanced study of the lives of enslaved plantation cooks from colonial times through emancipation and beyond. She reveals how these men and women were literally "bound to the fire" as they lived and worked in the sweltering and often fetid conditions of plantation house kitchens. These highly skilled cooks drew upon skills and ingredients brought with them from their African homelands to create complex, labor-intensive dishes such as oyster stew, gumbo, and fried fish. However, their white owners overwhelmingly received the credit for their creations.
Focusing on enslaved cooks at Virginia plantations including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mount Vernon, Deetz restores these forgotten figures to their rightful place in American and Southern history. Bound to the Fire not only uncovers their rich and complex stories and illuminates their role in plantation culture, but it celebrates their living legacy with the recipes that they created and passed down to future generations.
Based on astounding events in American history, The Birth of a Nation is the epic story of one man championing the spirit of resistance as he leads a rough-and-tumble group into a revolt against injustice and slavery.
Breathing new life into a story that has been rife with controversy and prejudice for over two centuries, the film follows the rise of the visionary Virginian slave, Nat Turner. Hired out by his owner to preach to and placate slaves on drought-plagued plantations, Turner eventually transforms into an inspired, impassioned, and fierce anti-slavery leader.
Beautifully illustrated with stills from the movie and original illustrations, the book also features an essay by writer/director, Nate Parker, contributions by members of the cast and crew, and commentary by educator Brian Favors and historians Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Daina Ramey Berry who place Nat Turner and the rebellion he led into historical context. The Birth of a Nation reframes the way we think about slavery and resistance as it explores the passion, determination, and faith that inspired Nat Turner to sacrifice everything for freedom.
The history of food is one of the fastest growing areas of historical investigation, incorporating methods and theories from cultural, social, and women’s history while forging a unique perspective on the past. The Routledge History of Food takes a global approach to this topic, focusing on the period from 1500 to the present day.
Arranged chronologically, this title contains 17 originally commissioned chapters by experts in food history or related topics. Each chapter focuses on a particular theme, idea or issue in the history of food. The case studies discussed in these essays illuminate the more general trends of the period, providing the reader with insight into the large-scale and dramatic changes in food history through an understanding of how these developments sprang from a specific geographic and historical context.
Examining the history of economic, technological, and cultural interactions between cultures and charting the corresponding developments in food history, The Routledge History of Food challenges readers' assumptions about what and how people have eaten, bringing fresh perspectives to well-known historical developments. It is the perfect guide for all students of social and cultural history.