Reflecting and Reifying Class Stratification

I had another thought about the overall exhibit theme when I was driving today…  Through the lens of food, we could talk about how each of these modes of travel have contributed to or reified class stratification in the United States.

We see it in ship travel, particularly in how the fees charged by commercial lines for steerage passage paid for luxury travel.  According to some of the reading Elena and I have done, steerage was the money maker and made ocean crossings like the Titanic possible.  I didn’t know that – I just figured the rich were paying for their vacations.  In fact, the money collected from steerage customers and the fact that the companies spent very little for their accommodations made trans-oceanic a lucrative business.   From the menus alone, we have a compelling argument for the division of classes.

Are the other groups finding similar accounts in their research?

I just wanted to type this out before I lost my flash of organizing thoughts.  It’s not really a complete proposal, but just something that came to me while I was driving.  I think it’s going to be a little tricky tying all of our narratives together, but 1) exoticization and its contribution to a distinctly American view of the world and 2) class stratification, we have both an external and internal discussion of food ways and the ways they inform our understanding of United States cultural and social history.

Thoughts?  Am I completely off?


inspiration: maira kalman post

a little food on the move inspiration from the ever-clever maira kalman.

i’d love to hear what you guys think about her latest project.



graphics from here.

Addendum to December 7th Meeting

1) You’ll find a map of the space attached with the FOTM space blocked off. You’ll notice that there are four sections in addition to the tavern. I think it’s fair to say that each of these sections represents one of our big four questions. This means that each group (apart from Janet’s) gets roughly 17 running feet and a projection of roughly six feet off the wall. This space is not a solid block for each group, since the materials from each group will be distributed among the sections, but just a guideline so that, as you gather your materials you’ll have an idea of how much stuff you need.

2) As for the amount of words you’ll need, we can imagine each of these four sections having a main panel. If each panel is 500 words (the absolute max, I would imagine, we’ll have to clear this with Richard), then each group is allowed roughly 100 words on each question. There are object labels, each of which can probably carry a max of 50-70 words. And then we can think about having smaller panels. These might tell our “wild card” stories or subtopics. In any case, these would probably not be longer than 250 words each. Wild card stories could also go on a gang label or an object label if they were short, which they’ll need to be anyway.

3) If you need a research assistant and you don’t have one yet, talk to Bess or contact Adrian to see who else from the programming group you might work with.

Exhibit: Curatorial Roles

Minutes: December 1, Johnson and Wales

Johnson and Wales Resources: Object List

Johnson and Wales Resources: Photo List