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This interdisciplinary course offers an introduction to humanities approaches to the study of culture using the topic of "food" as its primary focus. By viewing food (and drink) both as cultural practice and cultural expression, students may learn about such concepts as: cultural identity, values, practice, experience, language/meaning, and aesthetics. The course provides opportunities to survey various humanities approaches through the lens of food, including those of literature, folklore studies, cultural anthropology, cultural criticism, and more. It considers food in terms of such issues as gender, race/ethnicity, class, environmentalism, consumerism, and regionalism/nationalism.
In addition to readings and discussions, the course centers around student-initiated inquiry into a food and culture issue of the student's own interest and choosing, from one or more humanities perspectives. Students may conduct such inquiries as individuals or as part of a voluntarily-convened student team. Therefore, students have a lot of freedom to individualize their research and assignments in accordance with their particular interests. For example, a student who is pursuing a degree in literary studies might choose to do all of his or her written assignments on representations of food in literature, whereas an arts student might focus on food and film. Students in the social sciences might focus more on the sociology or anthropology of foodways. Students in health services might develop projects that consider the cultural politics of food and nutrition, whereas a student in marketing might look closely at representations of food and culture in the media and advertising. The most important restriction that students and mentors should be aware of is that students' assignments must focus on food and drink from a social or cultural perspective, as this is a humanities course. (Thus, for example, it would not be appropriate to do work on the science of nutrition per se. Consideration of the ethics or politics of nutrition science, however, would be perfectly acceptable.) The aforementioned examples are just examples, simply meant to give a sense of the range of actual possibilities.
This introductory level study intends to help students gain practice and skill in conducting academic inquiry and does not presume that the student has already achieved mastery. There is also an upper-level version of this course, which might be considered by students who are prepared to take on more advanced-level academic inquiry/research.
Important Note: students should not include Food and Drink in Cultural Context twice in an ESC degree program. This course can only be taken once, either at the lower-level or at the upper-level.
This course fully meets the General Education requirement in Humanities.
This online course is offered through the Center for Distance Learning. You can take this as an individual course or as part of an online degree program, with term starts in March, May, September, November and January. View current term offerings and all online courses. Click here to register for online courses.
Other Areas: The Arts | Business, Management & Economics | Community & Human Services | Communications, Humanities & Cultural Studies | Educational Studies | Historical Studies | Human Development | Labor Studies | Nursing | Science, Math & Technology | Social Science
Meets General Education Requirement In: Humanities-Full
Term(s) Offered (Subject to Change) : Spring 1. Fall 1.
For Books and Materials List Go to the Online Bookstore
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