Alternative Title

中国菜是什么?: AMERICANIZED CHINESE DISHES AS HERITAGE FOOD AND BRIDGING IDENTITIES

Streaming Media

Abstract

Chinese food has become ingrained in the lives of everyday Americans. But while ordering Chinese takeout is now an ordinary occurrence, Chinese food culture still experiences the lasting consequences of discrimination in the United States. First viewed as the uncivilized other and later as the exotic other, the status of Chinese food has shifted overtime. Chinese food has also experienced changes in its actual form, adapting to the American palate by adjusting flavor and presentation. My research explores the ways in which this Americanized Chinese food has impacted the identities of Chinese restaurant workers, and continues to manifest change within its markers of heritage food.

To carry out my study, I used the two interrelated methods of ethnography and visual ethnography, with the purpose to observe and record the individual experiences of Chinese restaurant workers. I incorporated a visual component by filming my interviews with the intent of giving a voice to Chinese restaurant workers, whose stories have been historically marginalized. I found that Chinese food represents a mode through which Chinese restaurant workers claim the agency with which to communicate their identity. While Chinese food has been commoditized to be marketable for American consumers, participants suggested that Chinese food in the United States is likely to return to authentic forms in the near future.

Advisor

Atay, Ahmet

Second Advisor

You, Ziying

Department

Chinese Studies; Communication

Disciplines

Critical and Cultural Studies | International and Intercultural Communication

Keywords

Chinese food, Americanized Chinese food, cultural identity

Publication Date

2018

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar

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© Copyright 2018 Megu Itoh