Laura Ann Twagira – The Taste of Development: Women Re-Engineering the Foodscape in Twentieth Century Rural French Soudan


Tuesday, April 8, 2014
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Alumna Laura Ann Twagira discusses a project in the French Soudan. Beginning in the 1930s, thousands of women migrated with their families, most often by force, to the irrigated agricultural scheme called the Office du Niger (Office) in the French Soudan (Mali). The hallmark of the project was a large dam and irrigation infrastructure for the cultivation of cotton and rice for export. At the Office, women integrated a radically new agricultural landscape into food production. Their daily food labors were all the more important because of frequent food shortages. In re-engineering how to cook, young women adopted metal cooking pots. This modest technology helped them to manage their labor time and improve the household diet. Food tasted different when it was cooked in a metal pot, but the young women insisted that they prepared the same meals. As an object of study, food preparation and consumption has been perceived by some scholars to be an area of social stability, even conservatism. Yet, these young women continued to cook in metal pots despite complaints from men about taste and critiques from senior women about labor technique and time. Ultimately, the young women who adopted metal cooking pots reshaped household labor regimes at the Office, as well as local taste.

Event Location and Ticket Information

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Wrexham Living Room
One Mead Way
Bronxville, New York
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Times: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Ticket pricing:
Free event

Presenter Phone: 914-395-2412
Presenter Website:

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