Theresa McCulla’s first book, “Consumable City: Food and Race in New Orleans” (under contract with the University of Chicago Press), shows how culture makers used food to exclude people of color from physical spaces and cultural narratives of New Orleans, in multiple eras. This is a book about the cultural power of food production, consumption, and their associated material culture in urban space.
To explore intersecting histories of leisure and labor in a famously multiethnic city, McCulla integrates methodologies of history, material culture, and food studies to interpret postcards, stereographs, cookbooks, menus, souvenirs, markets, monuments, and restaurants. In exploring how invented public memory became history in New Orleans, she sheds light on the roots of persistent inequalities in many American places and the means by which people of color resisted.
The dissertation on which this project is based was a semifinalist for the 2017 Herman E. Krooss Prize for the best dissertation in business history, awarded by the Business History Conference. It received honorable mention for the 2016 Michael Katz Award for the best dissertation in urban history, awarded by the Urban History Association. It was a finalist for the 2016 Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for the best dissertation in American Studies, awarded by the American Studies Association.