Students in the 360° Food and Communication traveled to New York’s Chinatown last Friday.
They traveled with Assistant Professor Shiamin Kwa, who is teaching the course “Food in Translation: China to Chinatown, Theory and Practice.”
Kwa’s course explores the connections between what we eat and how we define ourselves in the context of global culture. The students are using Chinese food as a case study, and examining the way that it moves from its host country to diasporic communities all over the world, using theories of translation as their theoretical and empirical foundation.
Students began their day at the Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA), with an outdoor walking tour of the neighborhood noting historical locations, important restaurants and the intersection between Little Italy and Chinatown. After, they were guided through the museum’s chronology of Chinese immigration in America, learning about anti-Chinese propaganda, mass documentation and Chinese stereotypes in American cinema.
A lunch of traditional dim sum took place in a large banquet room cast in red and gold at the Golden Unicorn.
After lunch, pairs of students darted off to create sensory maps of the area. This included documenting smells, sounds, dialects and more.
The day ended at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, where vanilla and chocolate are considered exotic flavors, and traditional ice cream is red bean and black sesame.
Other courses in the cluster include "Eating Empire: Food, Diaspora and Victorian Britain," taught by Associate Professor Kate Thomas and "Food and Identity in Spain," taught by Associate Professor Rosi Song.
Look for more coverage of this 360° throughout the semester, including coverage of the group’s travel to Barcelona in March.
Funding for this trip was provided by the Museum Studies program.