Sarah Fouts, Stone Center graduate and current Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, won the Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship last week.
Her project is Project Neutral Grounds: At the Intersection of People, Street Food, and the Hustle. According to the Whiting Foundation, her team will “will collaborate with street-food vendors in New Orleans on a multipronged initiative dedicated to the complex history of food culture. The project entails public events featuring facilitated conversations among historians and vendors (not to mention opportunities to sample the latter’s wares, from tacos to Soul Food); a zine illustrating historic and contemporary stories about street food; and a digital and physical archive hosted by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum highlighting photos and oral histories. Through food, this project will intersect with histories of the city’s blending of cultures, of migration, and of how culture is re-formed in the wake of disasters like Katrina.”
Within the Stone Center, the Latin American Resource Center plans to help Fouts and her team “to disseminate to a broad public these histories that have shaped New Orleans over the last two decades and longer.” This project goal aligns with initiatives of LARC, and in pursuit, they plan to continue hosting K-12 professional development workshops, using StoryMap pedagogy to trace food cultures from Central America to New Orleans. Fouts first shared this workshop in 2017, tracing foods of the Columbian Exchange and did so again at last summer’s K-12 Educator Institute, Central America: People & the Environment.
We at the Stone Center look forward to Project Neutral Grounds' contribution to our community as they promote a wider understanding of New Orleans' food history and culture.