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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Spring 2007


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29485 T
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
BUR 436B

Course Description

Polenta or grits? Spaghetti or udon? Pancakes, crepes, or galettes? Biscuits, cornbread, tortillas or sourdough? Regardless of what we call them, individual ingredients, recipes, and food choices tell stories of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and region in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner at grandma's house, fast food from the drive-through, a slow food meal harvested from the community garden, or five-star haute cuisine at this months hippest restaurant? Where we eat, how much we pay for it, and who labors to create it tell us about capital, nation, and connections between global and local economies.

This class will explore diverse American food cultures from a humanities perspective. Along with scholarship in the new field of food studies, we will use cookbooks, novels, poetry, photographs, songs, documentaries, and oral histories to investigate the past and present of American food communities. We will certainly engage our senses to listen, taste, and touch, as well as read about the food practices we are investigating. We will trace a history of diverse American foodways over roughly the past three hundred years; we will also trace a historiography of food scholarship, looking at how this field has blossomed in the past ten years. We will explore the definitions of the "texts" of food studiesfrom secondary scholarship to recipes, food labels, garden histories, newspaper columns, literary musings, and corporate archives.


Anne Bower. Recipes for Reading: Community Cookbooks, Stories, Histories (Amherst:University of Massachusetts, 1997). Donna Gabaccia. We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans (Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1998). Sherrie Inness. Secret Ingredients: Race, Gender, and Class at the Dinner Table (New York;Palgrave, 2006). Harvey Levenstein. Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva. Hidden Kitchens: Street Corner Cooking, Kitchen Rituals, and Visionaries (Rodale, 2005). Laura Shapiro. Perfection Salad (New York: Penguin, 1995) Arlene Voski Avakian and Barbara Haber, eds. From Betty Crocker to Feminist Food Studies: Critical Perspectives on Women and Food (Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 2005). Psyche Williams-Forson. Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food and Power (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). Richard Wilk, ed. Fast Food/Slow Food: The Cultural Economy of the Global Food System (Lanham, MD: Altamira, 2006).


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