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Grant number: PG-252919-17

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University of Mississippi, Main Campus (University, MS 38677-1848)
John T. Edge (Project Director: May 2016 to present)

Southern Foodways Alliance General Assessment

The hiring of an audiovisual preservation consultant to conduct an assessment of 800 oral histories and 102 documentary films that include approximately 700 hours of raw interview footage.  The materials were collected over the course of 25 projects documenting the diverse food cultures of the American South.  Footage from the collection has already contributed to several publications in the series entitled Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place; a quarterly academic journal called Gravy; and documentary films.  So far, the oral histories have been organized along four culinary trails—tamales, boudin, barbecue, and gumbo—with additional specialty topics ranging from Greek restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama, to the Southern food traditions that traveled north to Chicago during the Great Migration.

The Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), based at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture (CSSC), will use the NEH Preservation Grant to hire the consulting firm AV Preserve to review primary source materials, both physical and digital archives, to assess their condition and offer recommendations for preservation as the first steps of creating a new and central SFA archive housed at the CSSC, which will be able to be accessed via research visits and a website. The SFA collection offers a window into the American South through its changing foodways, amassing primary resource materials important to academic work in humanities fields that include U.S. economic, social, and political history; immigration history; labor history; cultural studies, gender studies, race studies, studies, geography, and cultural anthropology. The SFA collection includes 802 completed digital oral histories and 102 documentary films including 700 hours of raw interview and b-roll footage.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Folklore and Folklife; U.S. Regional Studies

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 6/30/2018