Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorth Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9900
Approve DateOctober 25, 2019
Project TitleGraham, Anna (North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of) "Lower Mississippi Valley Cuisine and the Transition to Maize Agriculture (AD 900-1350)," supervised by Dr. Clara Scarry
Cuisine transitions indicate larger changes to social structure because of the relationship between cuisines and community identity. Through an examination of cuisine, as represented by plant foods and cooking vessels, I will investigate the relationship between food and social identity for groups in the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV) during the transition to maize agriculture (AD 900-1350). The adoption of maize agriculture in the LMV is notable because it occurs several hundred years after its introduction to the region. Studies of food transitions often identity external forces as the underlying cause. An examination of foodways, including the social uses of food, will provide insights into internal dynamics of the transition. My research uses cuisine as a framework to examine the circumstances of maize adoption and the impact it had on existing subsistence and social practices. I will examine plant remains and ceramic vessels from community gathering spaces that span the transition to determine patterns in plant food use and preparation styles across time and better understand how communities were interacting with a new food. This work addresses both the specifics of this transition for the LMV, while also providing a new perspective on the dynamics between cuisine, identity, and community relationships.