In the kitchen: Transforming the academy through safe spaces of resistance

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47 Scopus citations


This essay explores the cultural space of the kitchen as a metaphor for explicating the role of African American women scholars in the Academy and African American women's strategies of transforming a traditional institution of white male dominance. The essay suggests that African American women scholars employ a kitchen legacy to transform institutions of higher learning in ways similar to those their foremothers in the Southern plantation kitchens of the nineteenth century used to advance African American women's empowerment through self-definition while rejecting objectification as other. First, the essay explains the Southern plantation kitchen as a site of struggle and transcendence in African American women's tradition. Next, the essay explores interdependency of the public and private spheres of African American women's experience through the conceptual framework of womanism, and offers new insights into the kitchen and the Academy as spaces of transformation. Finally, the essay discusses ways in which African American women can transform institutions through a redemptive vision of the kitchen legacy, which offers the Academy a future of provocative scholarship in womanist studies and praxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-381
Number of pages18
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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