Demonstrating Feminist Metic Intelligence through the Embodied Rhetorical Practices of Julia Child

Lindy E Briggette, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The concept of metis reinserts the body and its intelligences into the ways in which rhetoric is understood, harnessed, and performed. Originating from the wisdom of Greek goddess Metis, the concept of metis is commonly understood as cunning intelligence that is deployed in order to escape an adversary, trick an opponent, or dupe its victim. When metic intelligence is read through the helping acts of Metis and her daughter, goddess Athena, however, an expanded version of its ways of operating begins to emerge. Through her efforts to debunk French cuisine using rule-based approaches meant to empower home chefs in their own kitchens, Julia Child, cookbook author, television educator, and chef, embodies metis with practices that represent feminist metic intelligence. In archival collections that reveal prolific correspondence, manuscript drafts, and television production material, Child deploys rhetorical strategies meant to teach and stimulate physical movements of cooking, and she does so by positioning the rules of cuisine as the gateway to culinary agency. For Child, structured rules allowed a home chef to respond to and recover from mistakes, and the rules also, consequently, fostered creativity and culinary freedom in the kitchen. Child’s own wielding of cunning and embodied intelligence helps us understand how metis is cultivated by a rhetorical body, and, in turn, Child’s metis may allow us to better understand how embodied rhetorics are invented and deployed.^

Subject Area

Women's studies|Rhetoric

Recommended Citation

Lindy E Briggette, "Demonstrating Feminist Metic Intelligence through the Embodied Rhetorical Practices of Julia Child" (2018). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10751457.
https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI10751457

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