Associate Professor and Co-Director of Graduate Studies (w/ Dr. Sheri Parks)
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Psyche Williams-Forson is an Associate Professor and co-director of Graduate Studies in the Department. She is an affiliate faculty member of the Women's Studies and African American Studies departments and the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. Dr. Williams-Forson is the co-founder and co-director of the Material Culture/Visual Culture Working Group, an interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students engaged in research on objects and culture. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of cultural studies, material culture, food, and Women’s Studies along with the social and cultural history of the U.S. in the late 19th and 20th centuries. She is particularly interested in the ways that power functions in our everyday lives and the ways objects like food are used to perform cultural work. In her award-winning book (American Folklore Society), Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power, she explores a range of materials to consider the ways black women use foods like chicken to arrive at degrees of self-definition and self-reliance. Her new research explores class, consumption, and citizenship among African Americans by examining domestic interiors from the late nineteenth-century to the early twentieth-century. Dr. Williams-Forson is the recipient of several fellowships including a Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship (2005) and a Lord Baltimore Research Fellowship (2006-07). She is also the curator of “Still Cookin’ by the Fireside,” an online text and photo exhibition on the history of African American cookery for the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Museum.
Ph.D, American Studies (Univ of Maryland, 2002)
M.A., American Studies, Women’s Studies Certificate (Univ of Maryland, 1994)
B.A., English/African American Studies, Women’s Studies (U of Virginia, 1987)
- Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, & Power. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.
- “Suckin’ the Chicken Bone Dry: African American Women, History and Food Culture.” Cooking Lessons: The Politics of Gender and Food. Ed. Sherrie Inness. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000) 200 – 214.
- “African Americans and Food Stereotypes.” African American Foodways: Explorations of History and Culture. Ed. Ann Bower. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, forthcoming).
- Williams-Forson, Psyche & Tony Whitehead. Entry on “African American Foodways.” Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Ed. Solomon Katz. NY: Thomson Gale, Inc. 2002.
New Approaches to American Studies (graduate)
Feminist Cultural Criticism in Diasporic Texts (graduate)
Diasporic Cultures (graduate)
Advanced Material Culture (undergraduate)
Women, Food, and Identity (undergraduate)
Senior Seminar in American Studies (undergraduate)
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