Food and Culture offers students a way to explore in-depth an area of anthropology that is growing in popularity but has been a part of the field since its inception. They learn about important concepts and figures in cultural anthropology and allied social sciences, while connecting with their own experiences with food culture and with current events and timely issues.
At Indiana University South Bend
When I taught this course at Indiana University South Bend in Fall 2018, it was a seminar mostly for advanced Anthropology majors and minors, with other junior and senior students of the social sciences and Sustainability Studies. There were 14 students in the course, and some of them plan to pursue further study in anthropology.
The primary texts for this course were the classic analysis of sugar drawing on historical and ethnographic sources, Sidney Mintz’s Sweetness and Power, and a recent autobiography that has won several food writing awards and is marketed to a popular audience, Michael Twitty’s The Cooking Gene. I supplemented these two books with articles and book chapters to expose students to a range of writing styles, topics, and voices.
Check out the syllabus from Fall 2018 here:
The students maintained a portfolio of reading summaries and course activities throughout the course. They also created an individualized scholarly project following a series of steps paced out during the semester, and worked with their peers to present a lesson to the rest of the class.