What Else Ho Reha Hai? Reflections On My Fieldwork Website

Several of us here at the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition recently had the pleasure of reviewing submissions for our annual Christine Wilson Award. Winners have been selected and will be recognized at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. It is common to say all the submissions were great, but, in fact, they were and we want to call attention to that fact by publishing abstracts of all submissions. This is the second abstract from the competition we are posting (the first one is here). This one comes from Abby Golub and reflects on fieldwork in a bakery in Belgium. One of the more striking features of this particular research is the use of various kinds of media, from a blog to videos. There is a link to some of that below.

What Else Ho Reha Hai? Reflections on my Fieldwork Website

Abby Golub
KU Leuven

This paper analyses the effectiveness of a website to display and develop fieldwork about a bakery. As it stands, the website was published before the bakery declared bankruptcy, and conveniently avoids mention of conflicts with the boss, making mistakes, hierarchy, gender, and how the bread is pleasant to make but not my favorite to eat. Despite these omissions, the website serves as a celebration of friendship and optimism. It accurately portrays my daily experience in the privileged position of an international, part-time student-worker and anthropologist. Videos of the baking process couched within a recipe immerse viewers in virtual field notes. Analytic entries explain the significance of language and timing in the bakery. The name of the website itself, “Pistolet Baking Ho Reha Hai,” means “Pistolet Baking is Happening,” and was inspired by my colleague’s singing. This name demonstrates the use of primarily Hindi grammar mixed with the English word “baking” and French word “Pistolet” applied in a Flemish context, here meaning “bread roll.” To facilitate daily communication, bakers often repeated ideas and instruction in different languages or in singing voice. This language use, friendly interaction, and learning appear front and center in the videos. Ideally the website will launch further sharing and reflection on diverse work experiences.

Please enjoy, and email me or comment directly if you have input or questions at this web site.

Author engaged in participant observation (Photo by Jeet Sherpa)

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