Topic outline

  • General

    Food and Culture
    Autumn 2009 Carol Hendrickson
    MW 11:30–12:50 / Dalrymple 33E Office: Dalrymple 12

    “As the poet Christopher Isherwood memorably wrote during his travels in China in the late 1930s: ‘Nothing is specifically either eatable or uneatable. You could begin munching a hat, or bite a mouthful out of a wall; equally you could build a hut with the food provided for lunch.’” Fuscia Dunlop in Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper (12)

    “You are what you eat” is a commonly-heard phrase, but what are some of the meanings and implications of this statement? What do people eat? (And, in light of the Isherwood quote, what don’t people eat? And why?) What associations do people have with food and what do these mean? And given the great variety of human societies, how are authors considering these issues—and many others—cross-culturally? In this class we will consider a range of topics including food practices and gustatory meaning systems, food and the body, the political economy of what people eat, domesticating tastes, and food and globalization. Case studies will be drawn from around the world, and the class will provide opportunities for fieldwork.

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