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ADMS 1000 Chapter Notes -Nigerian Cuisine, African Diaspora, Ecomuseum

Administrative Studies
Course Code
ADMS 1000
Keith Lehrer

of 6
Habiba Abudu
Library Research Exercise
Question and Second Question
The first question I chose was question 7.4, which is “What are the Cultural
Effects of Globalization?” My enhanced or more developed secondary question is “How
has the exchange of regional foods influence local modes of production?” The question
was chosen because I like food and I had a hard time finding enthusiasm in doing other
aspects of globalization such as trade, clothing etc. Since food was a fascinating topic for
myself, obviously that would give me more momentum in re-searching and developing
key words for the assignment. Also, food varies from region to region and thus changes
in each area may bare slight nuances. Key words used in the database during my research
phase were “food, trade, globalization and local”. As a result of free-trade and neo-
liberalism all readings shared common themes of standardization and appealing to an
expanded market. As a result, there were changes in traditional modes of production in
order to produce a standard product. There were ancillary compromises as a result such a
loss of community or even a reduction in quality. There are instances in some readings in
which individuals would try to subvert these new modes of production. Consequently,
reminding me of the Marxist’s theory of capitalism.
Ethnographic Research
Elisha P. Renne wrote the article entitled “Mass Producing Food Traditions for
West Africans Abroad”. She is apart of the Department of Anthropology at the University
of Michigan. Renne’s extensive knowledge of Nigerian cuisine is attributed to the
research she conducted in the Niger Delta throughout 1987-2004. She also went to
Northern Nigeria during 1994-1996 (2007:624). Church is an integral part of West
African culture and Renne notices that by stating, “food is an important part of church
worship” (2007:617). To further her understanding on the importance of local foods in a
new environment she attended Cherubim and Seraphim church (originally started as an
independent church in Nigeria) in New York, Chicago, and Detroit. (2007: 617). While
attending the church, Renne asks members about which African food stores they
frequent, modes of preparation of food amongst other things. The questions Renne could
be trying to answer in her article is what are the differences for the West African diaspora
in terms of acquiring traditional food items as well as how is the tradition of preparation
changed or maintained with the introduction of technology? She supplemented her
ethnographic study with grocery store items found in West African markets as well as
referencing other studies (2007:617).
Nana Okura Gagné who wrote “Eating Local in a U.S. city: Reconstructing
“community” – a third place – in a neoliberal economy” conducted fieldwork in 2003 (as
well as follow up visits in 2005 and 2010) with a farmer’s market in Washington, D.C
called “The Farmer’s Basket Market” (2011: 282). Gagné conducted interviews with
various farming personnel, customers, organizers and volunteers (2011:282). A question
Gagné attempts to answer is how farmers use “liberal-open-mindedness” to subvert neo-
liberalism during the exchange of farmer’s produce? Another question could be what are
the challenges associated with an alternative market within the framework of a pre-
dominantly neo-liberalism liberal market?
Cristina Grasseni wrote “Re-inventing food: Alpine cheese in the age of global
heritage.” Fieldwork began in 1998 with two years of participant observation in the
production of alpage cheese. This study would eventually extend into including three
types of regional cheeses. She conducted interviews with various personnel in the local
cheese industry such as cheese makers and local administrators. Her later years
comprised of collaborative research with the Ecomuseum of Valtaleggio. Her questions
would address the transformation of cheese production throughout the years as well as
the problems associated with changes in modes of production.
The book entitled “Fast Food/Slow Food The Cultural Economy of the Global
Food System” involves persons from all walks to life that submit individual essays
regarding changes in modes of production for food. The food examples used in the book
ranges from Tacos in Mexico to fast food in Laos. The contributors had various ways of
conducting fieldwork such as living in the region for the time and trying the food.
Richard Wilk, the professor of Anthropology from Indiana University appears to be the
primary consultant for many of these essays. The recurring themes in these essays are
changes implemented in regions as food becomes more globalized. What are the
environmental impacts? As new traditions for food production are established what are
the pros and cons that are the result? Social, economic and global factors all contribute to
such questions.
Annotated Bibliography