The Almighty Oyster: Food, Fighting and Sensibility
PRINCESS ANNE, MD – Author and Historian John R. Wennersten, Ph.D., will trace the evolution of the oyster industry in a special presentation, “The Almighty Oyster: Food, Fighting and Sensibility,” on Tuesday, April 24 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The event is set for 11 a.m. in Room 2040 of Hazel Hall on the UMES campus.
Wennersten’s presentation traces the evolution of the oyster industry in Maryland from the colonial period to the mid-twentieth century. He details the rise of the oyster from a poor people's food to a status delicacy. As the desirability of oysters rose, deadly violence broke out among watermen over access to the oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay, Tangier Sound and the tributary rivers, leading to the notorious “Oyster Wars”. Tragically, its national and international popularity led to over-harvesting and the demise of what had once been called the Almighty Oyster. The audience will consider how humans use, sensibly or not, the bounty of our natural resources.
Wennersten is a former professor of history at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and has also been a visiting professor at Tokiwa University in Mito, Japan. He has published three books about the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay, including “The Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay,” which examines the rise of the oyster industry throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Wennersten received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and his M.A. from Baylor University.
This program is made possible with funds from the Maryland Humanities Council.
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