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Dissertation Defense, Jeffrey Painter, “Cooking and Coalescence: Exploring the Construction of Community and Cuisine at Morton Village”

April 12 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Cooking and Coalescence: Exploring the Construction of Community and Cuisine at Morton Village

Abstract: “Over the last few decades, archaeologists have found increasing evidence for migration and other forms of population movement among precontact Indigenous groups in North America, creating dynamic social interactions that directly impacted local communities and regional networks. In some cases, these interactions appear to have stimulated new cultural developments, such as the growth of larger communities and the development of new institutions or practices, which helped to shape the history of these regions. In response, archaeologists have begun to shift their focus toward understanding how these multi-cultural, or coalescent, communities were formed and the processes that made them successful. A number of mechanisms have been identified that promoted integration in these communities, but, so far, research has focused on large-scale organizational changes, such as the development of new social institutions, over small-scale, everyday interactions. In this dissertation, I examine foodways practices and their role in coalescence to demonstrate that small-scale interactions were also critical for community integration and coalescence. To investigate these practices, I conducted ceramic use-alteration and spatial analyses at Morton Village, a site of on-going coalescence in the central Illinois River valley, as well as at two comparative sites, Larson and the Tremaine Complex, in order to examine cooking and consumption practices in pre- and postmigration contexts. Comparisons of data from these sites revealed that some traditional foodways practices were maintained by the migrant and local residents at Morton Village, while other practices were slowly shifting, creating a unique cuisine at the site. Through both larger communal events and everyday cooking, shifts in foodways at Morton Village may have helped to link migrant and local residents together, promoting community integration from the bottom-up. This research indicates that everyday interactions can also be critical for successful coalescence, not just large-scale organizational changes, demonstrating that multi-scalar approaches are needed to better understand this process.”


This dissertation defense will be held via Zoom. If you would like to participate in the defense, please contact Jeff Painter at painte15@msu.edu for video meeting details.


April 12
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Video Conference