First-Year CCT student to present at Georgetown Conference

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First-year CCT student, Andrew Smith-Herman will be presenting at the Spaces and Silences conference here at Georgetown University on February 9th. 

Smith-Herman’s paper, entitled “Simultaneity: Identity Formation within the Relocated Collective”, takes a deeper look at the word “Diaspora” and how it has been appropriated to mean any movement of any people to any place. However, that movement has a meaning that continues to shape the culture of vast sects of people. This paper seeks to explore the connection between the relocated collective and food. Food, both its preparation and consumption, can be a source of comfort, and the specific way in which one dines and eats becomes emblematic of a relocated collective’s culture by way of becoming a symbol. The dinner table allows the older members of the relocated collective to keep tabs on their legacy, while also providing an opportunity for the younger members of the relocated collective to learn their cultural characteristics. Simply, it is through sharing of cultural information that a relocated collective belongs to a Diaspora.

This sharing of cultural information is the central point of the connection between the African Diaspora and food. This paper focuses on the role food plays in providing sustenance. It also focuses on how the way in which food is prepared prevents sickness and promotes wellness. This paper examines heterotopic phenomena in discussing the historical
relationship between the recipes of both Afro-Caribbean and African-American immigrants in metropolitan New York. It also examines African immigration in the context of modern American convenience foods as well as the modification of African American soul food.
Most importantly, this paper seeks to explain and explore the cultural importance of what certain populations eat and whom they eat it with.

When asked about his research and why this topic and theme, Smith-Herman responded, “I was motivated to write about it after some independent research my senior year of college. The subject matter was very interesting to me as I was raised in a multicultural household with many different dishes from a wide breadth of cultures. Food seemed a particularly accessible way to study more serious questions of identity and race.”

For more information about the conference and the schedule of speakers click here.