McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups

McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups

Meagan Winkelman
Ohio State University

This paper analyzes the foodways of teenagers in the digital age, specifically the construction of “fast food mash-ups.” These practices, unlike typically documented ethnographic foodways, do not involve cookery; rather they involve the reappropriation of readily available fast food items. The results are massive hybrid sandwiches, like the “McGangBang,” a McDonald’s McChicken sandwich inside of a double cheeseburger. Using interviews with past and present members of the folk group that engages in these practices, collected online and in person, I will explore the meaning of these reappropriations to the people who make and consume them. This paper focuses on the social and psychological factors that influence fast food mash-ups, including the rite of passage ritual of consumption in excess, the desire to deviate from cultural and institutional norms, and the struggle to create meaning in the mass-produced food and drink that dominate youth food culture, as well as the function of fast food mash-ups as legends, which are being acted on ostensively whenever the sandwiches are ordered, constructed or consumed. Continue reading “McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups”


Negotiating a Shire: The Transformation of Local Values in the Society for Creative Anachronism

Negotiating a Shire: The Transformation of Local Values in the Society for Creative Anachronism

Suzanne Barber
Indiana University


The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international non-profit organization and is often depicted and discussed as a large homogeneous organization. Instead, in this work I have analyzed a smaller group, Loch an Fhraoich. Loch an Fhraoich, whose values and identity center around camaraderie and narrative and aesthetic coherence must attempt to balance these two often contradictory principles. This can be examined in light of narrative construction and maintenance. The Society for Creative Anachronism supports an official homogenous metanarrative.  At every level these narratives connect the individual and group to others, creating a network of relationships and shared narratives that help create a sense of unity and prevent a fracturing of voices and thus support the overriding metanarrative. In order to prevent this system from collapsing inward or fracturing apart, a certain amount of playful transgressive metalepsis and edgeplay must be allowed. The negotiation of this edgeplay is debated, and the style and amount tolerated is often a distinguishing mark between groups. Some key contestations that I have focused on where this debate occurs include the levels and types of anachronism allowed, the types of partying and practical jokes encouraged or discouraged, costuming, and the understanding of honor and chivalry. Continue reading “Negotiating a Shire: The Transformation of Local Values in the Society for Creative Anachronism”

Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Rama for Beginners:  Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures

Jeremy Stoll
Indiana University


In the boom of recent comics scholarship, the comic art of India has received little attention compared to that of other nations, the United States, France, and Japan in particular. Through a basis in religious and folk narratives, Indian comics narratives, especially those published by the Amar Chitra Katha series, have worked to update folk tales, retelling them in a modern medium. By looking at the figure of Rama in the Amar Chitra Katha and other Indian comics, this paper will analyze the process and implications of this transformation. In particular, the analysis of Rama as contemporary hero will reveal how these stories help people to deal with daily life at the same time that they affirm another, older way of understanding the world. This paper will thus demonstrate how comics creators in India have adapted the comic book to effectively re-maneuver traditional tales as a modern, folkloric inheritance to future generations.     Continue reading “Rama for Beginners: Bridging Indian Folk and Comics Cultures”

“Neither Fish nor Fowl”: Constructing Peranakan Identity in Colonial and Post-Colonial Singapore

“Neither Fish nor Fowl”: Constructing Peranakan Identity in Colonial and Post-Colonial Singapore

Patricia Ann Hardwick
Indiana University

This article traces the way in which political processes influence the creation and presentation of Peranakan ethnic identity during the colonial and post-colonial period in Singapore. Peranakan culture combines southern Chinese and Malay traditions and is unique to the nations of Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Peranakan identity began to emerge in the seventeenth century and flourished under the British administration of the Straits Settlements and British Malaya in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Associated with the British colonial system, Peranakan identity was suppressed by early Singaporean nationalists. Aspects of Peranakan identity including women’s costume and Peranakan material culture are currently celebrated by the Singaporean nation as emblems of its unique past, as individuals claiming to be Peranakan are encouraged to assimilate to majority Chinese culture. Continue reading ““Neither Fish nor Fowl”: Constructing Peranakan Identity in Colonial and Post-Colonial Singapore”