In this commentary, anthropologist Iris Carter Ford reflects on the preceding pieces by Carmen Kynard and Signithia Fordham. She identifies parallels among the two essays and her own life, drawing out themes that emerge from the narratives. Integrating ideas about “talking black” and “talking back,” Ford notes that both phenomena have roots in traditional African American notions of fictive kinship and complicity. Her analysis of Kynard’s and Fordham’s work, along with insight from her own experiences as a black woman navigating.
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Iris Carter Ford
is chair of the Department of Anthropology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland at Historic St. Mary’s City, where she teaches and studies kinship, African American culture (colonial and contemporary), food, and media. She has written about African American travel practices, food and culture in Africa, and race and identity in early Maryland. She serves as trustee at Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland’s first capital, and commissioner on Maryland’s groundbreaking Commission to Coordinate the Study, Commemoration, and Impact of Slavery’s History and Legacy in Maryland. Her current work focuses on the link between eighteenth-century English and contemporary African American consumption practices.