Archive for the ‘Research Stories’ Category

Food, Food, More Food

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Food for a research paper in an art history class; food also for a senior project for Communications and Media Studies. Who could resist food?!

Hi Prof Chen,

my senior project for my Communications and Media Studies minor. I’m doing a project on the Food Network and arguing that mass media has had a positive effect on the ways in which Americans cook and eat. Right now I’m trying to find background information on the Food Network and on food television in general, ….


Start with this Tisch book:

Watching What We Eat: the Evolution of Television Cooking Shows by Kathleen Collins.

(Bookstacks: PN1992.8.C67 C65)

Try, also, search on specific shows, individual celebrity chefs, collecting your own evidence.

I will definitely use the database America: History & Life. Most likely, you will be looking at the topic from many perspectives such as Sociology and Mass Media  (the database, Sociological Abstracts), Television (the database, Film and Television Literature Index) and Business (the database ABI/Inform).

Two citations from America: History & Life:

Brost, Lori F. “Television Cooking shows: Defining the Genre.” Indiana University, 2000

Ketchum, Cheri. The Essence of Cooking Shows: How the Food Network Constructs Consumer Fantasies.” Journal of Communication Inquiry July 2005, Vol. 29 Issue 3, p217-234, 18p.

Six Degrees of Separation

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Helping students with their “real world” research adds urgency to my work.  

The research was on photographs of Indonesia taken by Indonesians rather than westerners during the colonial days.

I saw the connection with the Family Photographs project.

The connection turned out to be even stronger than I initially realized. This was Dr Christraud M Geary‘s project, the scholar we cited in the Family Photographs project. Dr Christraud Geary was quite pleased with our findings.

This time, we tried out the following two additionl sources:

Bibliography of Asian Studies


“Time Travel”

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

“Time travel” came to mind, when a student was considering research on “European women travelers in the Middle East during the nineteenth century” for the Orientalism and the Visual Art seminar.

This is how I imagined the journey:

1. Travel with women from the 19th century; look and see with our own eyes through their writings such as this one online:

Griswold, Louise M. Roope.: A woman’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land: or, Pleasant days abroad : being notes of a tour through Europe and the East. Hartford, Conn.: J.B. Burr & Hyde, 1871.

These reminiscences of a woman’s travels through Europe and Asia provide insight into life there.

Source: The Gerritsen Collection Women‘s History, 1543-1945.

2. Consult scholars on their methods in making sense of these travel writings with books at Tisch:

Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel, and the Ottoman Harem

Viewing the Islamic Orient: British Travel Writers of the Nineteenth Century

Women’s travel writing, 1750-1850

Great Women Travel Writers: From 1750 to the Present

Intimate outsiders: the Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature

3. Travel even further back in time through these 17th and 18th  centuries  books:

Howell, James. Instructions and directions for forren travell … : with a new appendix for travelling into Turkey and the Levant parts. London, 1650. 156pp.

Shaw, Thomas. Travels, or Observations relating to several parts of Barbary and the Levant. 2nd ed., with great improvements …. London, 1757. 579pp.

Source: Making of the Modern World

Family Photographs

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Primary sources are precious data, to state the obvious. I met a student in an art history class, who, through a family member, had “access to an archive of photographs of Christian missionaries in the Congo during the late nineteenth century.”

So how to use ths collection for the current course?  What about exploring first how art historians have studied this kind of visual materials using the methods of postcolonialism and cultural studies?

We  begin by exploring in the database,  ARTbiliographies Modern:

Lydon, Jane. “‘Behold the Tears’: Photography as Colonial Witness.History of Photography 34, no. 3 (2010): 234-234-250.

(Edited by) Hight, Eleanor M., Gary D. Sampson, Brenda L. Croft, Julia Ballerini, John Falconer, Ayshe Erdogdu, Rebecca J. DeRoo, et al. Colonialist Photography: Imag(in)Ing Race and Place Routledge, 2002.

Geary, Christraud M. “Missionary Photographs: Private and Public Readings.African Arts 24, no. 4 (1991): 48-48-59, 98-100.

[Meet Dr Christraud Geary in the story, Six Degrees of Separation.] 

 African Studies would certainly be another valuable perspective:

Godby, Michael [Michael Adrian Patric Godby]. “Framing the Colonial Subject: the Photographs of W.F.P. Burton [1886-1971] in the Former Belgian Congo.” Social Dynamics 19, no. 1 (January 1, 1993): 11-25.

Visualizing Africa in Nineteenth-Century British Travel Accounts

And, how about other displines, besides art history? How do others handle visual research? We looked in the Tufts Library Catalog:

History Beyond the Text: a Student’s Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources

Visual Research Methods: Image, Society, and Representation

My Favorite Food

Friday, July 8th, 2011

A research project that you could taste?

First Story:

… I am in the Orientalism and the Visual Art seminar. … I am trying to write it specifically on the history of the Rijstaffel, a Dutch dish that was appropriated from the Dutch Indos that were forced to move to Holland. ” 


 Second Story:

The student reported back, “My last year’s paper was recieved very very well!”

 He is ready now to start on a second project.

“I am trying to find anything on Dutch salted black licorice, known either as drop, zoute drop, or dubbel zoute drop respectively translated to black licorice, salted licorice and double salted licorice. These licorices are incredibly popular in the Netherlands and readily available.  I’ve had quite a difficult time thus far finding information on the history or cultural identity of these sweets.”



On Oct 25, 2010, at 2:57 PM, Chen, Chao wrote:


This book sounds promising. I wonder if the bibliography and footnotes in the book would give you more clues:

Dalby, Andrew. Dangerous Tastes: the Story of Spices. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bookstacks: TX406 .D35 2000.


Third Story:

So the cliche, “Pick a topic that interests you” works out sometimes. Check out yet another food story; another fun project.


Furture Stories based on food books found in Tisch? (Click on the book cover for details.)


These three titles are:

Food: the History of Taste

Tastes and Temptations: Food and Art in Renaissance Italy

Arranging the Meal: a History of Table Service in France


This article might spark some interest:

Gratza, Agnieszka. “Spiritual Nourishment: Food and Ritual in Performance Art.” PAJ 32, no. 1 (2010): 67-67-75.