ANT 380K • Food & Politics
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
In this course we will focus on the role of food in political life. Agricultural production, distribution of food, cooking, eating practices, and food taboos can form important parts of political arrangements and the negotiation of social relationships. Food, as material culture, can be used in creating identities and maintaining boundaries between social groups (classes, factions, ethnic groups, etc.). Food production and consumption can also be used to break those boundaries and transform social relationships; therefore, we will take a historical approach to the study of food and foodways. To study the political dimensions of food, we will consider the politics of food in several contexts, including agricultural production, cooking, and consumption. Topics that we will examine include feasting, everyday eating practices, food avoidance and taboos, imperial cuisines, drinking, cooking within and beyond the domestic sphere, cooking as technology, relationships of labor in food production, and the sociopolitics of health and nutrition.
The course will follow a seminar format, and students will be required to draw from archaeological, ethnographic, and historical sources both in class presentations and written assignments. Grading will be based on class participation, written assignments, and oral presentation of assignments.