Education Programs: Humanities Initiatives at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Period of Performance

3/1/2014 - 2/28/2019

Funding Totals

$100,000.00 (approved)
$99,929.11 (awarded)

The History of Food Production and Consumption in the U.S. Gulf Coast Region

FAIN: AC-50194-14

University Of Houston (Houston, TX 77204-3067)
Todd Romero (Project Director: July 2013 to June 2021)

A six-semester program designed to enhance teaching, scholarship, and community engagement through the study of food and its role in the Gulf Coast region's history, economy, and cultural life.

The Gulf Coast Food Project: Humanities Research and Curriculum is a six semester program to enhance humanities teaching, scholarship, and community engagement through food studies at the University of Houston. It consists of a faculty reading and curriculum development group designed to enrich food studies teaching and develop new courses; a series of public lectures and faculty workshops to catalyze humanities-based foodways scholarship and teaching; and a public conference on race and ethnicity in foodways. The programming will support participating faculty in creating a new interdisciplinary curriculum in Food Studies, including an undergraduate minor and graduate certificate in Food Studies at UH. A growing area of study, food studies resonates with special meaning for humanities scholars who explore the cultural dimensions of food production and consumption, as food is fundamental to identity, labor, economy, culture, and history.

Associated Products

Houston Eats! Texas Gulf Coast Food in the Past, Present, and Future (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: Houston Eats! Texas Gulf Coast Food in the Past, Present, and Future
Author: R. Todd Romero
Author: Monica Perales
Abstract: Houston is the most diverse city in the country, a diversity that is reflected in the city’s food. You can eat Pakistani goat biryani, a Colombian empanada, a Uyghur meat pie, Vietnamese bún bò hu?, Viet-Cajun crawfish, Nigerian egusi soup, a cheese enchilada, Gulf oysters and more all in a five-mile radius. Over the course of the two-day conference, historians, farmers, food writers, sociologists, activists, and artists will explore the origins of that diversity, how it impacts the way the city eats now, and what it means for the region’s future. The conference opens Friday, February 2nd with a keynote by Dr. Tyina L. Steptoe, author of Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City, Texan, and associate professor of History at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The event will culminate on the evening of Saturday, February 3rd with a conversation between the Houston Chronicle’s restaurant critic Alison Cook, the winner of three James Beard awards, and two of of Houston’s premier restaurateurs, Sylvia Casares, chef and owner of Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen and author of The Enchilada Queen Cookbook, and Kaiser Lashkari, chef and owner of Himalaya Restaurant. Between Friday morning and Saturday evening, attendees will also hear from Houston-raised historian of the Vietnamese immigrant experience Roy Vu and Houston Chronicle barbecue columnist J.C. Reid, and Mikaela Selley, Hispanic Collections Archivist at Houston Metropolitan Research Center, will discuss the history of Mexican restaurants and tortilla factories. This is just a sampling of the many interesting topics and presenters at the conference. The event is free and open to the public. The conference is organized by the Gulf Coast Food Project and Foodways Texas and is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of Houston Center for Public History Lecture Series, and the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Date Range: 2/2-2/3/2018
Location: University of Houston