Finding the Phantom Food: Representing Postcolonial
Jonathan Bishop Highfield is Professor of Literary Arts and Studies at Rhode Island School of Design is and the author of Food and Foodways in African Narratives: Community, Culture, and Heritage (Routledge) and Imagined Topographies: From Colonial Resource to Postcolonial Homeland (Peter Lang).
His writing on postcolonial ecocriticism and foodways has appeared in numerous book and journals. He teaches courses on postcolonial literature and food studies and enjoys cooking. Reading narratives through the lens of food and foodways reveals different ways that writers deploy agriculture, cooking, and eating to highlight the traumas of history, the emptiness of displacement, and the power of community. What I try to ask is what is food doing in the narrative?
How does paying attention to it reveal something that Elizabeth A. Eldredge calls “a hidden transcript”?[i]The descriptions of preparing a meal, working in a garden, or butchering a chicken, seem so commonplace that the meaning instilled in those passages can go by without notice. What do those domestic moments reveal about the dynamics of gender, of power, and of class in narratives?
Marié-Heleen Coetzee is associate professor in the School of the Arts: Drama at the University of Pretoria, South Africa She was previously on faculty at the University of Zululand. Her research interests include drama/theatre-based pedagogies in cross-disciplinary contexts as well as embodied pedagogies in performance praxis. She presents guest lectures, papers and workshops at national and international institutions and conferences, acts as adjudicator, examiner and reviewer for various institutions and organisations, contributes scholarly publications and presents creative work on various platforms.
Cornucopia consists of 4 short, independent scenes that offer primarily visual and embodied interpretations connected by the theme of excess. Core images in each scene serve as narrative anchors to explore the themes in relation to the body as symbolic site/sight for defining relations between people. Food and consumption becomes tools of power, persuasion and seduction.