Food History Timeline

Note: Topics were due in Canvas on September 22nd. Those already claimed include hamburger, whiskey, potatoes, kombucha, sushi, pancakes, apple, and oats.

Conceptual Design

This assignment emphasizes the media literacy concept that all media are constructions. They are neither natural nor “windows to the world.” Rather, they are historical constructions that shape (and in turn are shaped by) contextual and cultural factors. You have lingered in this concept thus far with your Food Autobiography as well as readings on the history of sugar, as one example.

This culminating activity requires you to (re)construct your understanding of the historical, political, technological, economic, and social factors that shaped the evolution of a particular food (your selection must be pre-approved).

Your challenge is to (re)construct the history of your particular food by building a multimedia timeline. You will research significant events and then sequence them and make a case for their significance based on your own logic and understanding. You are limited to 10-15 of what you think are the most significant points in the history of your particular food. Hopefully you are beginning to see that this is essentially a rhetorical (persuasive) exercise that will rely on your individual skills of inductive as well as deductive logic.

Technical Specs

The tool you will use is TimeGlider, a web-based tool for creating interactive timelines (Accounts are free for students).[1] The technical specifications are as follows:

  • The title of your timeline should be: “The Re/Constructed History of [YourFood]”
  • Include a brief description in the events box to summarize the event and indicate its importance.
  • When you enter events, make sure to rate the importance of the event (scale of 1-100) to the historical evolution of your food. This is based on your own logic and reasonable judgment. Use the entire span to illustrate more dramatic comparison.
  • To prevent excessive overlap of your timeline events, limit your event descriptor to 1-2 words max.
  • For each event, include an image that represents that event.
  • Make sure your timeline is public with a shareable link/URL

Written Rationale

In addition to building your TimeGlider, you will craft a 500-word rationale for the 10-15 historical points that comprise your timeline. The specifications for this narrative are as follows:

  • An enumerated list of your timeline events in rank order (order of importance) not chronological order.
  • A narrative rationale for why each event is significant
  • Include in the header the URL for your TimeGlider
  • A bibliography that reflects the (preferably) primary sources you consulted. You should have a minimum of 10 credible sources listed.
  • Submit the document through the Historical Timeline Assignment in Canvas prior to 1:00pm EST Friday Sept 29th.
  • File format should be .doc, .docx, or .rtf. Canvas will not accept other file formats for this assignment.

Oral Presentation (in-class)

You will have 2-3 minutes during class on Friday, September 29th to explain your timeline and overall rationale to your classmates. Your timeline will be projected on the screen for visual support of your explanation.

Grading Criteria 

This assignment is worth 75 points or 15% of your final course grade. See this rubric for assessment details.

[1] You might want to start by viewing a basic tutorial of TimeGlider. Here’s one example: There are many other tutorials on the web from which you can choose.



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