Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thinking out loud: the dream dissertation.

So, for anybody reading this who doesn't know me, (there's probably not many of you at this juncture) I am what I like to call a "born-again college student". I went back to college as an undergrad at 36 after a twelve year break from the books. I'm currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin as an anthropology major. More specifically, I'm interested in the anthropology of food. Food, foodways, and celebrations involving food are of the utmost interest to me. One area that I'm REALLY interested in is street food. I am endlessly fascinated by the variety of cuisine one can find on the street, the stories surrounding foodcart culture, and the stories behind the foodcart purveyors themselves. Often, these are tales of new immigrants to the U.S. overcoming hardship by introducing Americans to a new cuisine, dishes that are nearest and dearest to the immigrant's heart, or a recipe that mama taught them that they think will be a surefire hit. In larger cities, this often takes on a different dynamic. In places like New York or Chicago, street food is often representative of the most recent immigrants catering to other recent immigrants tastes and desires to eat like they did in the old country. Street food culture, much like America itself, ebbs and flows with each new immigrant population.

I have a dream of writing a dissertation on street food culture here in the United States. Obviously, I need to finish my undergrad work and get into grad school. I have three more semesters to do this. Then, hopefully, I will be able to get into the grad school I want, namely, Indiana University. They have an Anthropology of Food program all the way up to the PhD level. Unlike my current department, the folks at Indiana would understand my passion for food and my desire to study domestically. I'm hoping, with a little luck, that they will be as excited about a dissertation about street food as I am.

But, first things first.

Expected graduation date: December 2012.

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