Undergrad Research: Lauren White on Soul Food

Today we are thrilled to feature an interview with AMS undergraduate student Lauren White. Her thesis project looks at media representations of soul food. We sat down with Lauren and chatted about her research and future plans–enjoy!


Tell me a little about your research.

I’m looking at various media surrounding the neo-soul food movement, thinking about things like the representation of soul food in movies, music, and television. I decided to look at examples from the media, like the film Soul Food and episodes of Boondocks. Soul food is an important part of American culture–it is something that you couldn’t study anywhere else. My thesis project and the paper I am presenting at the conference were originally a part of the Food Studies Project. They needed a blog writer. I was originally going to write about something else, but I had presented at Undergraduate Research Week about soul food, and they noticed that and encouraged me to expanded it from there.

What has been your favorite class in American Studies and why?

Southern Cultures with Dr. Elizabeth Engelhardt. It was a great opportunity to find out about southern traditions, where they come from, where they are practiced, how they have changed. In that class I got to do an ethnomusicology project on the banjo which has led me to want to pursue graduate school in ethnomusicology, or perhaps archival work related either to ethnomusicology or gastronomy. I would love to work at an institution like the Smithsonian and do work on jazz and popular culture.

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