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Research Interests for Ashley Rose Young

Research Interests: 19th Century Culinary History of the United States and Atlantic World

I am interested in exploring cultural networks in America and the Atlantic World—specifically the ways in which Americans are bonded together through food. This is not easy history; it can be as unpredictable as okra gumbo and as dark and mysterious as oysters fauche. But it is a rich and rewarding history, one that taps into the heart of cultural expression and the importance of community in American life. My dissertation, "Nourishing Networks: Municipal Markets and Foodways in the Nineteenth Century South" is an ethno-history of farmers' markets in major port cities such as New Orleans and Baltimore. These farmers' markets were linked to national and Atlantic trade networks that sourced foods from both neighboring and distant port cities. They acted as the central nodes through which most foods passed before making their way into local eateries and family homes. My research places local, national, and Atlantic networks in conversation with one another to examine the ways in which Americans positioned themselves within a national culture during the formative years of early nationhood. The geographic concentration of my project in the American South contributes to the work of Southern scholars highlighting the importance of this region in the construction of American culture and features the role of a typically marginalized group of people—food vendors—in this production.

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