Friday, February 27


As mentioned in the blog February 9, I am currently enrolled in the class titled Studies in Field Work: Food and Culture this semester. Every week or two I will be blogging updates from our class and from the undergraduate Introduction to Southern Studies class as well.

In the Intro to Southern Studies class, students have most recently been learning about Cajun culture and foodways. By contrasting Mike Tidwell's 2003 Bayou Farewell with Les Blank's 1973 documentary Hot Pepper, students are engaging the ways that cultural expressions like foodways (gathering, preparing, serving, eating) have served as fundamental vehicles for preserving the strength and vitality of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast culture. Also, they have explored the ways in which social, political, economic, and environmental pressures have shaped Cajun foodways.

This week in Studies in Field Work: Food and Culture, Joe York and Andy Harper demonstrated the ways that they have explored foodways through film by screening such SFA favorites as Eat or We'll Both Starve, Hot Chicken, and portions of Above the Line: Saving Willie Mae's Scotch House. Andy and Joe also demonstrated for the class the proper way to set up and conduct a formal interview (pictured above); they gave a more general tutorial about on-camera interviews and invited students to come to the Center for Documentary Projects for further instruction later in the semester as well. Dr. Wharton then divided the class into the five groups (three students per group) that will produce five different and exciting documentaries about Food and Culture in and around Oxford this semester. The class is very excited to get started; I hope to get back to you in a week or so with some insight into the types of projects being discussed!

Alan Pike
Graduate Assistant, Southern Foodways Alliance