Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Media and Popular Culture Studies

Committee Director

Marc Oullette

Committee Member

Delores Phillips

Committee Member

D.E. Wittkower


Everyday people all over the world watch food media. These engagements happen through multiple media outlets -- both new and old -- such as documentaries, streaming platforms, and television. Through these outlets, viewers can immerse themselves in a group’s culinary culture from the comforts of their residences. What happens when viewers engage with these cultures has been fabricated for consumerism and hegemonic balancing. This thesis will examine and critique how these platforms have created conditions for a change in cultural definitions and representations. Audiences in the United States are shown these changes when they are shown a specific group's cultural products that contradict what the group members have traditionally engaged with and consumed. While these forms of engagement, consumption, and observation can be looked at using multiple lenses and historical contexts, what is key to each examination is questioning how media create engagement and consumerism with these forms. Some key questions that I plan to answer include: How are erasure and misrepresentation of the culinary culture portrayed in media? How are new media outlets following traditional tropes and creating sites of discourse? How are practices of redefining the Other affected by media representation? How does audience engagement cement these new definitions? The last two questions are the most important as a consumer of food can choose how to engage with their own culture, the culture of another person, or a mix of the two. Is it possible that with new media platforms, ones that mix media and hands-on consumer engagement, the audience becomes part of the definition process? What will the consumer and, in large part, society do when they are told by people who immigrate/migrate into their community that the dish they have always perceived as true was a fabrication? Using an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, it is the aim of this thesis to shed light on how these processes are performed every day.







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