School of Interdisciplinary Studies American StudiesCollege of Liberal Arts

Graduate Student Research Showcase

The graduate students in the American Studies program at Purdue produce forward-thinking original scholarship and creative productions that push the boundaries of American Studies as a field, as well as that of the various disciplines with which they engage. This page regularly showcases these young scholars and their current interdisciplinary research. 

Megan Williams

My current research project is an inquiry into the culture of pound cake in Black women's cookbooks, fiction, and illustration. Specifically, I analyze the literal and figurative centerdness of pound cake in sexually and/or romantically heightened moments; the parallel positioning of pound cake and Black female bodies in such moments; and the notions of desire, pleasure, eroticism, sex and sexuality entangled in these parallel positioning. Such an analysis allows me to question the role of pound cake in shaping erotic desire and sexual pleasure for Black women and conclude that pound cake is both a symbol and tool for Black female sexual agency. 



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