‘How Corn Changed Itself and Then Changed Everything Else’ at Next TAHS meeting

Submitted

The Tampico Area Historical Society Museum speaker series continues with a presentation on corn by Cynthia Clampitt on Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. at the TAHS Museum.
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About 10,000 years ago, a weedy grass growing in Mexico possessed a strange trait known as a “jumping gene,” which is used to transform itself into a larger and more useful grass – the cereal grass that we would come to know as maize and then corn.

Most textbooks only mention corn in the context of rescuing a few early settlers, but it in fact sustained the colonies and the early United States, and then virtually created the Midwest, a region settled faster than any other region in history.

It also created the region’s cities, especially Chicago, where everything from grain elevators to the Chicago Board of Trade to the 1893 World’s Fair to time zones to the stockyards were made possible by the golden flood flowing into the city.

Clampitt will detail the history of corn and how it transformed the Americas before First Contact; how it traveled the world after First Contact; and its stunning impact on the creation of not only the historic Midwest but just about everything in it today.

Clampitt has been writing and talking about food history for thirty years and has authored two books of food history. She has pursued her love of culture, history, and food in thirty-seven countries on six continents, but has in recent years increasingly focused on the American Midwest.

She has written textbooks for every major educational publisher in the U.S., including the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and National Geographic Learning. Cynthia is a member of the Culinary Historians of Chicago, the Society of Women Geographers, the Agricultural History Society, and the Midwestern History Association.

This event is co-presented by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau. Road Scholar speakers travel throughout Illinois sharing free, dynamic presentations about literature, philosophy, theater, local history, film, music, politics, and more, at no cost to host organizations. The program enables local nonprofit organizations to present free-admission cultural programs to their communities.

Illinois Humanities is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that spark conversation, foster reflection, build community, and strengthen civic engagement for everyone in Illinois. Founded in 1974, we are the state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities and supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Stay connected with Illinois Humanities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn@ILHumanities. 

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