Adrienne Johnson Humanities and Social Science
Corporealizing Identity: Competitive Eating and the Cultural Meaning of American Bodies
Competitive eating is a vernacular form of cultural criticism masquerading as mass entertainment. My research into the significance of competitive eating in American culture will unveil collective but inarticulated perspectives on consumerism, gender roles and our economic climate. Competitive eating is at once a glorification of American excess and an indictment of it; a direct challenge to idealized human form and a confirmation of its strength. Historically, I believe competitive eating served to homogenize immigrant diet in 19th century America. By tracking the foodstuffs of competition, I hope to prove that as American politics globalized, home-grown traditions like competitive eating grew more regional and divisive.