english class paper assignment

Required length: 5-7 pages not including the Works Cited

This assignment requires students to use the ideas from our readings to develop a research project on the contributions of certain ethnic restaurants and/or ethnic markets in America.

Your purpose in Assignment #3, like that in Assignment #2, is to devise your own argument about your chosen subject and to support your argument, using various sources. The main difference, however, is that Assignment #3 requires you to identify a specific topic on your own and to do more extensive research in developing your arguments than was required in Assignment #2: you must include direct citations from at least one course reading and at least five (5) academic sources from the library databases. In your essay, you should formulate a clear and focused thesis and provide a detailed account of your evidence.

As mentioned earlier, this assignment is to be driven largely by your own research and thinking. You should be doing research as you write, not after you’ve completed a first draft. As Assignment #2 demonstrated, research and writing are thoroughly connected. Your research process will involve you reading, thinking, taking notes, and perusing the databases and other sources until you have figured out what you want to write. Then, as you continue writing, you should go back into the research process again to get new ideas or to find additional sources. Sometimes your argument shifts or changes as you find new sources, and this is a good sign that you are doing research-based writing correctly. Don’t be afraid to change direction in writing the first draft—you can always improve or clarify your draft in your revision process.

Remember that, in a short paper like this, you cannot write something meaningful about the contributions of all ethnic restaurants and markets in the country, nor can you write about every contribution that certain ethnic restaurants or ethnic markets have made in America. However, you can make a significant argument about a few major contributions of certain ethnic restaurants or markets, and that should be your goal.


  1. As part of ethnic culture themselves, ethnic restaurants and food have made various cultural contributions in American society. In “‘I’ll Take Chop Suey’: Restaurants as Agents of Culinary and Cultural Change,” Samantha Barbas illustrates, particularly using Chinese restaurants and food, that historically ethnic restaurants have played a major role in cultural and culinary crossing. She notes that although Chinese restaurants did little to eradicate racism, they made it possible for Americans to cross cultural and culinary boundaries (682-683). In their article “Putting Mexican Cuisine on the Table: The Cultural Dimension of Cuisine as Connecting Point,” Patricia Jimenez Kwast and Ji Hae Kim argue that although to some people ethnic restaurants may be nothing more than a place to serve food, potentially they can play a role as “facilitators of cross-cultural understanding and interaction.”

Using certain ethnic restaurants and food, develop an argument about their roles as cultural ambassadors in American society. How do the particular ethnic restaurants and food enable cultural and culinary crossings? How do they bridge cultural gaps between the ethnic group and Americans? Do they promote a better understanding of the ethnic group and reduce American prejudice against them? Do they help Americans construct positive images about the ethnic group? Do they help the ethnic group and Americans negotiate and reshape their cultural identities? These are some of the questions you can consider while you are exploring your topic.

  1. Originally aiming to serve the ethnic population, ethnic restaurants, food markets, and other institutions (e.g., Chinatown Development Corporation) have played important roles in the ethnic enclave. Among other functions, they have played the role of providing economic and cultural support to the ethnic community as well as a haven to new immigrants. In the article “Carving an official Cambodia Town out of South Philadelphia,” Joy Manning writes about this economic and cultural role of ethnic restaurants and food in a recent attempt of Cambodians living in Philadelphia to create an “official Cambodia town.” Once this project is over, the enclave will attract more Cambodian Americans from other cities for home food comforts and other visitors for the consumption and experience of the “vibrant Cambodian culture,” which will bring more revenues to the community (Manning).

Choose an ethnic community (e.g., Little Italy (Italian market), Little Saigon, Chinatown, Mexicantown, Koreatown, or Cambodia town), and develop an argument about the contributions that ethnic restaurants and food markets have made to the ethnic community. In what ways have the ethnic restaurants and markets made the life of the ethnic population better? How have they contributed to the economy of the ethnic community? How do they help the community to recreate their distinct culture? These are some of the questions you can consider while you are exploring your topic.

Research your chosen ethnic community and learn as much as you can about your topic.

  1. Ethnic food markets can offer Americans in cities such as Philadelphia many benefits such as access to less expensive, healthier food with fewer additives, as well as intercultural interactions and authentic experiences. In the article “Why Should You Shop at Ethnic Grocery Stores,” Stefan Zajic makes the argument that more Americans should venture into ethnic neighborhoods to experience such markets despite fears they may have of visiting unknown neighborhoods.

Choose a type of an ethnic market that serves a particular ethnic community (such as Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese) and develop an argument about its role in the broader society beyond its local community. Should outsiders to communities where ethnic markets are located be encouraged to go to the markets and overcome fears of entering unknown neighborhoods and perceived linguistic or racial barriers? What would make their adventure worth stepping out of their comfort zone?

PS: the three articles that I uploaded, you have to use one of them for the topic, depends on you.

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