Conference Marks Julia Child’s Centenary

PolanAugust 15, 2012 marks the centenary of Julia Child's birth. The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, which houses Child's papers, will be marking the occasion with a symposium in September entitled "Siting Julia." Writers, academics, chefs, and friends of Child will be speaking, among them Dana Polan, professor of Cinema Studies at NYU and author of Julia Child's The French Chef. Polan argues that Child was key to a transformation in instructional television (not just around food but around all sorts of television in the service of instruction) from bland, anonymous lecture to dynamic and exciting demonstration. "Julia Child made personality matter in the realm of talking-head television and she established TV cooking as a venue for homespun celebrity.  In this way, she prepared the path for later celebrity-chefs on TV and had a key role to play in early TV's maturation," he says. Polan is available to comment on Child's media legacy. Contact Laura Sell at lsell@dukeupress.edu for more information.

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