Prof. Kyla Tompkins' Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the Nineteenth Century will be awarded the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize by the American Studies Association. The prize identifies the best first book that highlight intersections of race with gender, class, sexuality and/or the nation.
The book was selected from 99 submissions, and the award will be presented at the Association's annual meeting in November.
Earlier this year, Racial Indigestion tied for the Best Book in Food Studies award, presented by the Association for the Study of Food and Society, which recognizes volumes that "employ exemplary research methods, offer novel theoretical insights and constitute a significant contribution to the study of food from a scholarly perspective."
In Racial Indigestion (NYU Press, 2012), Tompkins explores the links between food, visual and literary culture in 19th-century United States to reveal how eating produces political subjects by justifying the social discourses that create bodily meaning. Tompkins leads the reader through a rare archive of vivid imagery, children's literature, architectural history, domestic manuals, dietetic tracts, novels and advertising. She explores the act of eating to understand how it became a political act that's linked to appetite, vice, virtue, race and class inequalities, and the then-burgeoning commodity culture. In exploring the history of eating, Tompkins sheds light on contemporary "foodie" culture's vexed relationship to nativism, nationalism and race privilege.
Racial Indigestion is part of the NYU Press' America and the Long 19th Century book series, which focuses on the relationship of formal and material literary production to the dynamic circulation of people, commodities, and technologies, by linking new archival and cultural research to literary studies.
"I am overwhelmed and honored to be thought of in the same breath as Lora Romero, a great scholar of the 19th century United States," says Tompkins. Romero, for whom the ASA prize honors, was a long-active member of the ASA, former assistant professor at Stanford University, and author of Home Fronts: Nineteenth Century Domesticity and Its Critics.
Tompkins, an associate professor of English and Gender Studies, joined the Pomona faculty in 2004 and teaches courses on 19th-Century U.S. Women Writers, Feminist Community Engagement, Literatures of US Imperialism, and Transnational Feminist Theory. A former food writer and restaurant critic, she writes about food, eating, sexuality, race and 19th- and 20th-century literature, culture, film and dance.
For news about the book, Tompkins' speaking engagements, and images and thoughts related to the book, visit Tompkins' book site http://racialindigestion.tumblr.com.