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Food Studies

Selected reference works, electronic resources, and Web sites in gastronomy.

History of Food Courses at Carleton

Winter 2015

AMST 241.00 American Food? 

Is there such a thing as American cuisine? Can it exist outside of the United States? Who defines, creates, and eats it? This course examines perceptions of American food within historical and global contexts. We will look at the relationship between evolving definitions of American food and immigration patterns, global food distribution networks, travel and tourism, foreign policy and war, and labor and public health. Topics range from U.S. military commissaries and ethnic groceries to Parisian soul food restaurants and the adaptation of SPAM into Filipino cuisine. Reading proficiency in a language other than English welcomed.

 

FREN 243.00 Topics in Cultural Studies: Cultural Reading of Food

"Tell me what you eat, I will tell you who you are." Brillat-Savarin. Through the thematic lens of food, we will study enduring and variable characteristics of French society and compare it to American and other societies when appropriate. We will analyze various cultural texts and artifacts (fiction, non-fiction, print, film, and objects) from medieval times to the present with a pinch of theory and a dash of statistics. Course may be repeated if the topic is different.

Prerequisite: French 204 or equivalent

 

Spring 2015 

ENTS 212.00 Global Food Systems

The course offers a survey of the world's food systems--and its critics--from the initial domestication of plants and animals to our day. We will begin by examining the critical theoretical and foundational issues on the subject, and then turn to a series of case studies that illuminate major themes around the world. Topics will include land and animal husbandry, the problem of food security, food politics, the Green Revolution, biotechnology, and the implications of global climate change. Throughout the course, students will assess and seek to integrate differing disciplinary and methodological approaches. The class will include field experiences.

 

 

SOAN 233.00 Anthropology of Food 

Food is the way to a person's heart but perhaps even more interesting, the window into a society's soul. Simply speaking understating a society's foodways is the best way to comprehend the complexity between people, culture and nature. This course explores how anthropologists use food to understand different aspects of human behavior, from food procurement and consumption practices to the politics of nutrition and diets. In doing so we hope to elucidate how food is more than mere sustenance and that often the act of eating is a manifestation of power, resistance, identity, and community.

 

Fall 2015 

ENTS 260.00 Comparative Agroecology 

As the world human population continues to expand, while at the same time the arable land base and fossil fuel supply shrink, the need for a sustainable food system is imperative. This course explores factors influencing food production and distribution at both local and national levels, with an eye towards how these factors affect choices made by the ultimate stewards of the land--the farmers. While the course focuses on the scientific aspects of agroecosystem sustainability, comparisons will be made among various production models both in the U.S. and China, bringing in social, economic and policy issues. This course is part of the OCS winter break China program, involving two linked courses in fall and winter terms, this class is the first class in the sequence.

Prerequisite: Biology 125 or 126 or Chemistry 123 or 128 or Geology 110 or 120 and instructor permission

PRIOR APPROVAL THROUGH OCS. Winter Break OCS Program Course. ENTS 261 required for Winter Term 2016 registration. 

 

HIST 100.03 American Farms and Food

What's for dinner? The answers to that question--and others like it--have never been more complicated or consequential than they are today. Behind a glance into the refrigerator or the shelves of any supermarket lie a myriad of concerns, ideas, and cultural developments that touch on everything from health and nutrition to taste, tradition, identity, time, cost, and environmental stewardship. This seminar will consider the evolution of these interconnected issues in American history, giving particular attention to the rise, inner workings, and effects of the agro-industrial food system and to contemporary movements that seek a new path forward.

 

Winter 2016

BIOL 248.00 Behavioral Ecology

Behavioral ecologists strive to understand the complex ways that ecological pressures influence the evolution of behavioral strategies. It can be argued that animals face a relatively small set of basic challenges: they must acquire food, water, and mates, and they must avoid danger. Yet we see a rich diversity of solutions to these problems. Consider foraging behavior, for example. All animals must acquire energy, but some filter particles out of sea water, others graze on nearly inedible grasses, while still others hunt in cooperative packs. In this course we will consider such topics as foraging, communication, sociality, and conflict. By focusing on the functions and evolutionary histories of behaviors, we strive to better understand the puzzle of behavioral diversity.

Prerequisite: Biology 125 and 126

 

ENGL 286.00 Eat the Story

What happens when kids stop playing with their food? We write about it, Instagram it, Tweet it. Our obsession has also inspired a bumper crop of new food prose: call it desk-to-table. "Eat the Story" will be a writing workshop, with a focus on foodways, heirloom crops, and community/urban ag. Our reading menu will draw on contemporary post-Pollan food journalism. (Depending on our appetite, we may visit with local food producers.) These samples will serve as fodder for our main course: practical field reporting and writing projects, from blog posts to longer features.

Prerequisite: One prior 6-credit English course

Extra time required.

 

Spring 2016

SOAN 233.00 Anthropology of Food 

Food is the way to a person's heart but perhaps even more interesting, the window into a society's soul. Simply speaking understating a society's foodways is the best way to comprehend the complexity between people, culture and nature. This course explores how anthropologists use food to understand different aspects of human behavior, from food procurement and consumption practices to the politics of nutrition and diets. In doing so we hope to elucidate how food is more than mere sustenance and that often the act of eating is a manifestation of power, resistance, identity, and community.