"Violent Appetites" by Carla Cevasco

Violent Appetites Hunger in the Early Northeast Carla Cevasco

Publication date:
14 Jun 2022
Yale University Press
256 pages: 235 x 156mm
1 b-w illus.
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How hunger shaped both colonialism and Native resistance in Early America

Carla Cevasco reveals the disgusting, violent history of hunger in the context of the colonial invasion of early northeastern North America. Locked in constant violence throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Native Americans and English and French colonists faced the pain of hunger, the fear of encounters with taboo foods, and the struggle for resources. Their mealtime encounters with rotten meat, foraged plants, and even human flesh would transform the meanings of hunger across cultures. By foregrounding hunger and its effects in the early American world, Cevasco emphasizes the fragility of the colonial project, and the strategies of resilience that Native peoples used to endure both scarcity and the colonial invasion. In doing so, the book proposes an interdisciplinary framework for studying scarcity, expanding the field of food studies beyond simply the study of plenty.

Carla Cevasco is assistant professor of American Studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. She lives in Somerset, NJ.

“In this bold and original study, Cevasco punctures the myth of colonial America as a land of plenty. This is a book about the past with lessons for our time of food insecurity.”—Peter C. Mancall, author of The Trials of Thomas Morton

"Unearthing compelling and harrowing episodes from the colonial past, Carla Cevasco puts hunger at the heart of the early American story. A revelatory and wholly original book."—Andrew Lipman, Barnard College

"Replete with vividly revolting period descriptions of unusual foodways, this book tweaks readers’ own disgust reflexes, encouraging them to interrogate categories usually taken for granted."—Jennifer L. Anderson, author of Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America