Short Written Assignments

You will complete 4 short written assignments (2 of which are re-writes or elaborations) during the semester. These assignments are worth 45% of your final grade.

Written Assignments 1 and 2: Cheap Meat

Write an 800 word (~3 page) critical essay in response to Cheap Meat, informed by the articles we’ve read. (i.e., use the key concepts and cite the arguments of at least 3 of the following authors—Mintz, Bestor, Albriton, Poppendieck—in your discussion of Gewertz and Errington’s arguments).

The essay is due during session 6. The re-write is due during session 10.

Written Assignment 3: Food Memory

Write a 500 word (~2 page) ethnographic description of a food memory, preferably from your childhood. This could be a memory of tasting for the first time or liking/disliking a particular food, or it could be a memory focused on a particular eating event, collective or individual. Pay attention to as many senses as you can invoke to evoke this memory.

The essay is due during session 13. 

Written Assignment 4: Food Memory, Revisited

Revisit your food memory: what people, and contexts, were present, but omitted from your recollection? Drawing on our readings and discussions for this week, interpret the significance of your food memory to you personally, as well as the gastro-politics and food rules at play, implicitly and/or explicitly. Be sure to cite at least 2 of our authors as appropriate. 500 words (~2 pages).

The re-write is due during session 15.

Final Paper

A final paper, combining library/online research and analysis, will give you an opportunity to explore in depth central themes of the course. Regardless of topic, you must cite and engage at least 4 readings from the syllabus. 3500–4000 words. (12–15 pages).

During session 16, bring to class two hard copies of of a one-page prospectus for your final research paper stating your topic and anticipated central arguments. Also include a provisional annotated bibliography (with 5 key sources identified and summarized). This proposal will be workshopped in class. A revised proposal is due during session 17.

A draft of the final paper is due during session 22.

The final paper is due during the final class and is worth 35% of the final grade.

Student Example

“Cracking Open Fortune Cookies: A Window into the American Consumer” (PDF) 

Note: This example appears courtesy of an MIT student and is anonymous by request.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples