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Foodways Texas officially joins UT’s Department of American Studies

Addie Broyles

Foodways Texas is now officially part of the University of Texas-Austin family.

The nonprofit, which was founded in 2010, has partnered with UT’s American Studies Department for projects like the restaurant oral history project we wrote about a year ago, but now Foodways Texas is officially under the College of Liberal Arts’ umbrella.

I’ve enjoyed covering the second and third symposia (on preservation and barbecue, respectively), which took place in Austin, and this year, the fourth annual conference will take place March 20 to 22 at Texas A&M in College Station. The theme is “Farm to Market,” and tickets cost $300 for non-members. (Members pay $275 for the symposium, and a yearlong membership costs $25 for students, $75 for individuals and $100 for a family.)

Other Foodways Texas projects include building archives of food documentary films and oral histories and an annual summer barbecue camp in College Station that always sells out. The organization, whose executive director is Austinite Marvin Bendele, has also already partnered with the university’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and the Briscoe Center for American History, which houses the oral history collection and related documents, including menus, cookbooks, posters and more than 7,000 photos.

“This is a significant addition to our college and to the American Studies Department,” Randy Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said in a press release. “Under the leadership of Chair Elizabeth Engelhardt, the department has become an important center for the study of food and its influences on society and culture. This study will be enhanced by the work of the dedicated people and the unique research and collections that comprise Foodways Texas.”

“The Department of American Studies is delighted to welcome Foodways Texas under our umbrella,” said Engelhardt, who serves on the nonprofit’s advisory board. “American Studies focuses on the cultural, social and intellectual life of the United States of America; studies of food and place, such as those supported by Foodways Texas, fit that mission perfectly. We hope to see Foodways Texas become the premier organization for the celebration, preservation and documentation of the diverse food stories of Texas.”