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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Spring 2006

ANS 384 • Culture of Food in India

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29805 M
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
PAR 303

Course Description

This course aims at examining the origins, customs, and social and economic implications of food in South Asia. This includes distinguishing native origins of food from food imported after the onset of the European presence in the Indian subcontinent (after Columbus and Vasco da Gama). The course also inquires into the customs of food and eating which are governed rigidly by notions of purity and pollution. Apart from the origins of food stuff, the students are introduced to several topics related to food: 1. food and religious aspects (sacrifice, worship, festivals) in the earliest Vedic texts as well as in modern conditions; 2. observation of customs on culinary, dietary, and hygienic prescriptions and restrictions of eating; 3. different rules applied to food as pharmaceuticals; 4. economic issues borne of the impact of the Green Revolution of the 1960's and recent policies of large foreign corporations forcing farmers to buy new seeds for planting every year; 5. contemporary ecology and inventive uses of waste water for growing shrimp for export. This course has a writing component and as such requires the students to write a research paper and a report (food review of a restaurant), in total 16 pages minimum for undergraduate students. Graduate students are required to write 25 pages minimum.

Grading Policy

Attendance/participation in discussion: 15% 4 mini quizzes at 5% each: 20% Food review (4 pages): 15% Paper proposal: 10% Research paper (12-15 pages undergrad/20 pages graduate): 40%


Achaya, K.T. A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1998 (Historical Dictionary) Khare, R.S. (ed) The Eternal Food. Gastronomic Ideas and Experiences of Hindus and Buddhists. SUNY 1992. (Eternal Food) On Blackboard: Zimmermann, Francis. The Jungle and the Aroma of Meats. An Ecological Theme in Indian Medicine. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999. Khare, R.S. & M.S.A. Rao (ed) Food, Society and Culture: Aspects in Food Systems of South Asia. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1986. Nair, Meera. Video. Vishnukumar's Valentine's Day & Curry Leaf.


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