February 8, 2016

Culinary Historian Jessica B. Harris to Guest Lecture

Montevallo, Ala. – Acclaimed journalist and culinary historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris will be visiting the University of Montevallo as a part of a visiting lecture series curated by Dr. Myron M. Beasley, the Paschel V. Vacca Distinguished Visiting Professor on on Thursday, Feb. 25. Harris will deliver a lecture entitled “A Sea change: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America” in Humanities Hall Auditorium at 5:30 p.m.


Prior to the lecture, Harris will be available for a book signing at Eclipse Coffee and Books in Montevallo from 2:30 p.m. until 4 p.m.


Harris is the author of twelve critically acclaimed cookbooks documenting the culture of Africa and the Americas, particularly the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. Her most recent book, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, was the International Association for Culinary Professionals 2012 prize winner for culinary history.


In more than three decades as a journalist, Harris has written book and theater reviews and travel, feature and beauty articles that can be found in publications ranging from Essence to German Vogue. She is a contributing editor at Saveur and Martha’s Vineyard magazine and also has a monthly radio show on Heritage Radio Network. Harris has spoken about the food of African Americans on The Today Show, Good Morning America and at the Museum of Natural History.


A 2010 James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in the United States inductee, Harris has received the Lafcadio Hearn award as a Louisiana culinary icon from the John Folse Culinary Academy at Nicholls State University and a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization she assisted in founding.


Serving as a cabinet member of the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Harris was most recently asked by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize and curate the cafeteria of a new museum being built on the Mall in Washington, D.C.


Harris holds a Ph.D. from NYU and degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College and The Université de Nancy, France. She has been a professor of English at Queens College C.U.N.Y for more than four decades and has also lectured on African-American food and culture at numerous institutions throughout the United States and abroad.


About The University of Montevallo


The University of Montevallo seeks to be unique in higher education in Alabama, by providing students from throughout the state an affordable, geographically accessible, “small college” public higher educational experience of high quality. Settled within an atmosphere of national historic beauty and offering a tradition of innovative cultural expression, we seek to provide professional programs supported by a broad base of arts and sciences that are designed for intellectual and personal growth in the pursuit of meaningful employment and responsible, informed citizenship.