Food Ethnography, homework help |

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this assignment is to give you hands-on experience in conducting participant-observation in a cultural context. Additionally, this assignment will allow you to gather and interpret your own data on food and culture in the same way that a cultural anthropologist would do. You will select a public space that focuses on food (e.g. grocery store, restaurant, farmers’ market) in which you can conduct observations and participate as much as is appropriate and possible. You will document your observations and experiences. After the participant-observation is complete, you will expand, reflect on, and analyze your initial notes. Ideally, you should choose a place that is of a different cultural context than your own (e.g. an ethnic restaurant different from your own ethnicity) and where you have not been before. It will be easier to take notes on things that are new to you than something you see every day.  

Possible places to conduct your observations include: an ethnic food market, a public religious meal, a farmers’ market, an ethnic restaurant, or the food section of a street fair or carnival. You need to pick a place that will allow you to make observations and record notes of people eating, drinking, cooking, shopping for, or preparing food.

Required Readings

  • Pelto, G.H. & Pelto, P (1983). Diet and delocalization: Dietary Changes Since 1750. In Dufour, D. L., Goodman, A. H., & Pelto, G. H. (Eds.) Nutritional Anthropology: Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Nutrition, (2012), 353-361. Oxford University Press.
  • Yan, Y. (2013). Of hamburger and social space. In C. Counihan & P. Van Esterik (Eds.) Food and culture: a reader, 2, 449-471. Routledge.
  • Caldwell, M. L. (2004). Domesticating the french fry: McDonald’s and Consumerism in Moscow. Journal of Consumer Culture, 4(1), 5-26.
  • Bestor, T.C. (2005). How sushi went global. In Dufour, D. L., Goodman, A. H., & Pelto, G. H. (Eds.) Nutritional Anthropology: Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Nutrition, (2012), 367-371. Oxford University Press.
  • Brewis, A. A., Wutich, A., Falletta-Cowden, A., & Rodriguez-Soto, I. (2011). Body norms and fat stigma in global perspective. Current Anthropology, 52(2), 269-276.





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