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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Tennessee Irish Picnic: Foodways and Complex Community Dynamics
by Bradley, Kristen A., Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 201; 3622924
Abstract (Summary)

St. Patrick's Irish Picnic and Homecoming is a barbecue event held every July in the small town of McEwen, Tennessee, located just west of Nashville. Each year, volunteers for the event barbecue 20,000 pounds of pork shoulder and 4,000 chicken halves. With its massive size, the event is the primary fundraiser for St. Patrick's Church and School, and as such holds great importance within the community. A Tennessee Irish Picnic examines the history, culture, and folklore of the event, analyzing it as it fits within the larger context of barbecue in the American South. Utilizing archival research and interviews with event volunteers and St. Patrick's parishioners, the author's ethnographic approach reveals many similarities between the event and the overarching cultural narrative of barbecue. In other ways, however, the event stands in alternative to these interpretations. Although cultural depictions of barbecue portray the foodway as a marginalizing experience between north and south, female and male, white and black, primitive and civilized, an investigation of the narrative on a smaller scale reveals the complexities of the foodway as a mark of community history and group and personal identities. The event becomes important not only on a financial level, but also in terms of understanding community dynamics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Laudun, John
Commitee: Ingram, Shelley, Wilson, Mary A.
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Folklore, American literature
Keywords: American literature, Barbecue, Community, Folklore, Foodways, Southern literature
Publication Number: 3622924
ISBN: 978-1-303-95072-8
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