Select a food/ingredient that is meaningful to your family/community. Outline your paper/decide how you will use your research data to support your argument.

Goal of the Assignment

For students to understand the social and structural consequences of a personally meaningful food dish by learning to analyze interview data.


Papers must be 700-800 words (not including works cited page), double spaced, with easily readable font and margins.  List the word count (not including works cited) at the end of your paper.  Give your paper a descriptive title.

Assignment Prompt

Watch documentary, “Soul Food Junkies”. You can access it either via (After you click on the link, you will need to use your UI login when the proxy window opens) or via ICON under “Streaming Video” (click on arrow to the right of the title “Soul Food Junkies”. It will link you to the external site for the documentary).

Taking the documentary as inspiration, analyze the social and structural consequences of a food dish that is meaningful to your family or a similarly close social group in which you participate.  Make an argument about the social and structural consequences (positive and/or negative) that a specific dish and its consumption have for family members.

Support this argument by analyzing 1) ethnographic data from an interview with 1 family member about the food’s history, meaning and use in your family, as well as from your own experience, and 2) information on the dish/ingredients from peer-reviewed or reputable media sources (not just Wikipedia!).

The assignment’s focus on both social and structural consequences requires you to know how food consumption is connected to a broader structural or social issue, like economics or labor practices.

Steps to Take

  1. Select a food/ingredient that is meaningful to your family/community.
  2. Interview a family/community member to learn about the food’s history, meaning and use in your family/community.
  3. Research the food to learn about the economic, labor or other practices that influence its production and circulation.
  4. Complete the writing guide to plan your analysis and create your argument.
  5. Outline your paper/decide how you will use your research data to support your argument.
  6. Write and revise your paper (see tips from the op-ed clinic lecture).


Grading Rubric

  1. The paper is based on the selection of an appropriate food and describes how/why it is meaningful to author’s family/community.
  2. The analysis demonstrates thorough and appropriate collection of interview and research data.
  3. Rather than simply describing the food and its context, the paper makes a clear and specific argument about how consumption of this food is connected to a broader structural or social issue.
  4. The paper supports that argument with a well-developed analysis of concrete examples showing connections between this food’s consumption and broader issues.
  5. The language is clear and free of grammatical/typographical errors. The paper is well organized and meets length and formatting requirements.


The post Select a food/ingredient that is meaningful to your family/community. Outline your paper/decide how you will use your research data to support your argument. appeared first on Essay Hotline.

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