A critical discourse analysis of Mexican cooking devoted to American homes by Josefina Velazquez de Leon and my Mexico by Diana Kennedy



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This Ph.D. dissertation employs a critical discourse analysis approach, backed by cultural rhetorics, to evaluate the significance of Mexico's Indigenous people speaking for themselves in discussions surrounding cultural survivance through Indigenous foods and cookbooks. I apply Norman Fairclough's three-dimensional model to My Mexico: A Culinary Odyssey of More Than 300 Recipes by Diana Kennedy and Mexican Cookbook Devoted to American Homes by Josefina Velazquez de Leon, to identify instances of language that demonstrate resistance and survivance, as well as appropriation, in the recovery and representation of Indigenous people's works. This dissertation challenges the widely held belief that Diana Kennedy is the foremost expert on Mexican cuisine by examining introductions, recipes, and interviews by and about both women and documenting language use which counters the preservation and representation of Mexico's Indigenous culture. In doing so, I reiterate that it is Josefina Velazquez de Leon who extensively researched and documented Mexican food before Kennedy and deserves recognition as the pioneer who preserved and represented Mexico and Mexico's Indigenous foods through cookbooks. Despite her significant contributions, Velazquez de Leon remains relatively unknown outside of Mexico, and the lack of visibility and acknowledgment of her work contributes to the erasure of Indigenous people's voices from the conversations about Indigenous foods. By examining the difference between Indigenous people speaking for themselves through their food and cookbooks, compared to an outsider sharing observations of Indigenous people's storied recipes, this research seeks to contribute to ongoing debates about cultural preservation, representation, and agency in Mexico's diverse cultural landscape. The findings of this study will help to shed light on the importance of amplifying the voices of Mexico Indigenous people in discussions surrounding their cultural heritage and reveal how the latter's contributions to the field of Mexican cuisine have been largely overlooked by the mainstream media and food industry.



Language, Rhetoric and Composition