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Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics

Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics

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Edited by Melissa A. Goldthwaite


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
296 pages, 6.125 x 9, 8 illustrations

Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms


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About the Book

Inspired by the need for interpretations and critiques of the varied messages surrounding what and how we eat, Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics collects eighteen essays that demonstrate the importance of food and food-related practices as sites of scholarly study, particularly from feminist rhetorical perspectives.

Contributors analyze messages about food and bodies—from what a person watches and reads to where that person shops—taken from sources mundane and literary, personal and cultural. This collection begins with analyses of the historical, cultural, and political implications of cookbooks and recipes; explores definitions of feminist food writing; and ends with a focus on bodies and cultures—both self-representations and representations of others for particular rhetorical purposes. The genres, objects, and practices contributors study are varied—from cookbooks to genre fiction, from blogs to food systems, from product packaging to paintings—but the overall message is the same: food and its associated practices are worthy of scholarly attention.


Melissa A. Goldthwaite is a professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University. She has published six books, including The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing, seventh edition, and Books That Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal, and numerous articles.


“One leaves Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics with an appreciation of its contributors’ work and how they interpret feminism and analyze communication vis-à-vis food. Like the woman on the cover, face covered in powder, about to bite into a donut, there is a sense of surprise and enjoyment . . . and the potential for indulgence.”—Jennifer O’ConnorGastronomica

“From discussions of narrative-focused methodologies and food texts as political artifacts, to culinary practices’ influence on definitions of ‘feminist’ lenses then and now, to cooking and consumption behaviors as intentional and tacit contributors to value systems, to the impact of food on sociocultural attitudes toward female physicality, Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics demonstrates how a rhetorical approach uniquely can encompass all things food.”—Adrienne Lamberti, author of Talking the Talk: Revolution in Agricultural Communication

Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics poses significant questions about the gendered history of cooking; about representations of food across time, cultures, and genres; and about the intimate link between eating and embodiment. The diversity of theoretical approaches and historiographic methodologies ensures readers will find much to feast on in these pages.”—Jane Greer, editor of Girls and Literacy in America: Historical Perspectives to the Present Moment

The contributors to this book cogently demonstrate how food—its preparation, history, and representation—is imbued with relations of power: how in some instances it can reinforce limiting gender roles and racial inequality on the one hand but on the other can offer creative possibilities for breaking down social inequalities. This is a must-read for any scholar interested in how food can be transformative.”—Rebecca Dingo, author of Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing

"The authors in this essay collection ask themselves how female voices, frequently silenced in history, can be heard in unprecedented ways if we look at the way they expressed themselves around cooking, eating, and thinking about food. Who tells a story has the power to determine its meaning, and plenty of stories can be told through food. As Goldthwaite states in the introduction to the volume, “messages we receive can shape the way we view, define, and feel about food, ourselves and others."--Fabio Parasecoli, The New School 

"Goldthwaite has written a very promising entree into the contributions of an immense category of women rhetors. Goldthwaite suggests countless novel directions for scholars impatiently awaiting the reclamation of Rhetorica. Major themes of the collection include recipes, feminist food-writing, food-related practices, and bodies and culture...Goldthwaite has offered her readers a very rare dish--joyful scholarship."-- A.R. Richards, Kennesaw State University

"The book also serves as an important reminder of how the narrative can be an invaluable source of feminist knowledge and sociopolitical critique. Telling our story can be a powerful and creative way to bear witness and to inform others of who we are and how we live."--Nancy Williams, Hypatia