Food, literature served up right in English’s Hermanns Lectures

Food in literature and culture will be the focus of the Department of English’s annual Rudolph Hermanns Lecture Series Oct. 13-15. Eight scholars and professionals from across the country will be on hand for the three-day event.

“Food is a relevant topic right now with health and environment issues,” said Dr. Amy Tigner, Assistant Professor of English and this year’s lecture coordinator. “More and more people are asking where we get our food, how it’s processed, [and] how much is processed versus how much is real food.”

The theme of the series ties into celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ Oct. 14 visit to the UT Arlington campus, a sold-out event that is part of the Maverick Speakers Series. Bayless will meet with English undergraduate students earlier in the day for a private lecture.

Other notable presentations include independent scholar and author Catherine Field’s look at food and identity in the popular “Twilight” series as well as a presentation on food and visual culture from Williams College professor Darra Goldstein, who is also editor of Gastronomica. A screening of the film “Tortilla Soup” is slated for Oct. 13 in the Planetarium.

“Everybody can relate to food because everybody eats,” Tigner said. “How much you think about eating and about food may vary, but the more intellectual engagement we can have … the more we can learn about ourselves.”

Tigner said the issue of food in literature has grown in popularity in academic circles for the past decade.

“I love to cook and I’ve always been drawn toward food,” she said, “so some of these more scholarly and ethical concerns are later iterations.

Tigner is teaching two courses on the subject this fall and is working on a new research project examining 16th and 17th century cookbooks and roles of women and the community in England.

The Hermanns Lecture Series began nearly 30 years ago and is open to the general public and UT Arlington faculty and students. For more information, log on to

Schedule of events:

Wednesday, Oct. 13

  • 2:30 p.m., “Food Justice: Manifestoes & Movements” by Allison Carruth (University of Oregon). Grad Seminar, Nedderman Hall, Room 601. Invitation only.
  • 5 p.m., “Eating and Embodiment in Milton’s Paradise Lost” by David Goldstein (York University). Grad Seminar, Nedderman Hall, Room 601. Invitation only.
  • 8 p.m., “Tortilla Soup,” Planetarium.

Thursday, Oct. 14

  • 9:30 a.m., “Unbitten Apple: Food, Identity, and Female Desire in Twilight” by Catherine Field. Sixth Floor Library Parlor.
  • 10:15 a.m., “Martha Stewart Minus the Jail Time: Hannah Woolley and the Ethics of Restoration” by David Goldstein (York University). Sixth Floor Library Parlor.
  • 11 a.m., “Breakfast” by Tim Morris (UT Arlington). Sixth Floor Library Parlor.
  • 2 p.m., “The Hallelujah Diet: Radical Recipe For Culture Change?” by Josephine Caldwell Ryan (UT Arlington). Sixth Floor Library Parlor.
  • 3:30 p.m., Undergraduate class with Rick Bayless. Invitation only.
  • 7:30 p.m., “An Evening with a Celebrity Chef” by Rick Bayless. Lone Star Auditorium. A Mavericks Speaker Series event.

Friday, Oct. 15

  • 10 a.m., “Food Culturing: A New Environmental Ethic?” by Allison Carruth (University of Oregon). Sixth Floor Library Parlor.
  • 11 a.m., “In Memory’s Kitchen: Preserving and the World of Early English Recipes” by Wendy Wall (Northwestern University). Sixth Floor Library Parlor.
  • 1:30 p.m., “The Visual Culture of Food” by Darra Goldstein (Williams College). Sixth Floor Library Parlor.
  • 2:45 p.m., Round table discussion with guest speakers. Sixth Floor Library Parlor.

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