Culinary Practices in Shared Kitchens
Collaborative Ethnobotanical Film Project
While the material generated by this project
should be useful for a variety of investigations, and one of the goals
of the project is to encourage collaborators to pursue their own lines
of research within it, we can begin with a couple of questions which
will help to organize the study:
- How do participants construct a cultural discourse of food?
Members of the shared kitchens regularly present
their culinary practices to a cross-cultural audience of other residents,
which will be reinforced in this
project by a second level of cross-cultural communication through
the medium of film. This creates an ethnographic situation which
defamiliarizes an everyday practice, and calls on participants to make
explict some of the cultural assumptions usually implicit in the practice.
Particularly interesting should be the ways in
which participants employ a range of home-country traditions and new
practices. This should be
observableable in ethnobotanical detail by attending to the
substitution of new ingredients for old ones, the
incorporation of previously unknown species, and the adoption of new
cooking techniques for preparing traditional foods. Analytic
attention will also be focused on the social situations in which foods
are prepared, and the ways that foods are used within these contexts to mark
a range of positions from cultural authenticity to cosmopolitan fluency.
- How does editing material into presentations reconstruct
As an extension of this, we can look at how
participant-filmmakers select footage in the editing process
and make it relevant within the sequence of the presentation.
This aspect of production forms another level of constructing discourse,
and looking at the choices made in the editing process should be
informative both in terms of food and of film. Hence the goal of
this examination is twofold, first in terms of contributing additional
insight into the ways in which food discourses are constructed within
particular performance contexts, and
secondly in terms of making present, during the editorial
process, the shifts in meaning that it produces.
- How do participants negotiate use of a shared commons?
It will also be interesting to look at ways in which
EW Center residents negotiate use of the commons at several levels:
in shared kitchens, in the community garden, and in use of other
campus plants. Although some of
these areas of common use have are regulated by given sets of rules,
these have been engaged in different ways, and
ultimately their interpretation is a community negotiation.
This question may also be worth applying to ways in which
editors jointly select material out of the common body of footage.
These questions will be approached from a qualitative, discourse-oriented
David Strauch |
P.O. Box 62223 | Honolulu, HI 96839
Revised 20 Nov 2006