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Food and Restaurants: A Review of the Literature and Exploratory Observations of Restaurant Pivots in LA in the Time of COVID-19


This MA project consists of: 1) a review of the literature on the study of food and restaurants within anthropology, as well as in the social sciences more broadly, and 2) a collection of preliminary observations regarding the transformations taking place within Los Angeles’s restaurant industry due to COVID-19. Rather than attempt to cover the entire breadth of the anthropology of food, I primarily consider works that focus on the symbolic capacities of food as they relate to various dimensions of identity, the senses, and memory. Afterwards, I consider works that explore the ways in which these themes are refracted through and within restaurant spaces. Using these bodies of literature as an intellectual foundation, I conclude by posing a series of questions pertaining to the ongoing transformation of the restaurant in Los Angeles, which I plan to selectively take up and explore during future dissertation research.

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