– J. A. Brillat-Savarin,
The Physiology of Taste, 1825
Our goal this semester is to study American “foodways” at home and abroad as a window onto the diversity of American and world cultures. Examining how food preferences and traditions have become “American” tells us about our history and culture – who we are, where we came from, our divergent and shared cultural assumptions, and how we relate to those we count as family and to others. Foodways create and sustain ethnic, racial, regional, national, and transnational identities. Global politics, economic trends, patterns of consumption, world events, trends in advertising, and changing attitudes towards health and nutrition contribute to our understanding of what we should and shouldn’t eat.
We take a comparative historical approach to the study of US food history to understand how American dietary and dining habits have changed over time. We seek to answer questions about how non-American cuisines have infused American foodways and also to explore how American tourism, imperialism, and globalization have shaped the proliferation and distribution of “American” foods and products around the world. The course fulfills International Diversity + World Cultures general education requirements. It also fulfills a methods-intensive requirement for the American Studies major.
After students explore some of the theoretical underpinnings of food and culture, they’ll find materials on the syllabus divided into six units:
* an overview of American food history
* food, gender, and household roles
* commodities and world systems
* fast food
* regional, ethnic, and “American” foods
* challenging dogmas
Double Entry Notes (D-EN) due by 7:59 AM on specified dates. All submit “practice” D-EN 9/13 AND 9 of the following 15 possible submission dates: 9/20, 9/27, 10/4, 10/6, 10/18, 10/20, 10/25, 10/27, 11/1, 11/8, 11/10, 11/17, 11/29, 12/1, 12/13.
750-Word Essays Due, 9 AM: 10/10 + 11/7.
Ethnography of a Social Meal Essay Due, 9 AM: 11/28.
1,250-word Final Essay Due, 9 AM: 12/19.