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

Spring 2008

ANS 372 • Culture and Food in India

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31205 M
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
PAR 303

Course Description

This course examins 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. Exploring the function of food in religious context allows the students to bridge the old traditions with the new adaptations in the Diaspora. 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 set of rules applies to food as pharmaceuticals; 4. economic issues borne of the impact of 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 is a writing component course and as such requires the students to write a research paper (12 page minimum), weekly response essays, mini-theme essays in class, and a report (for example, food review of a restaurant).

Grading Policy

5 mini quizzes 5% each = 25% Food review 4 pages 20% Paper proposal 10% Research paper 12-15 pages 30% Progress reports on paper will enable receiving feedback. The draft of the final paper will be due four weeks before the date of turning the paper in, so that there is time for revisions.


Zimmermann, Francis. The Jungle and the Aroma of Meats. An Ecological Theme in Indian Medicine. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999. Achaya, K.T. A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1998. Khare, R.S. (ed.)The Eternal Food. Gastronomic ideas and Experiences of Hindus and Buddhists. SUNY 1992. Khare, R.S.&M.S.A.Rao(ed.) Food, Society and Culture: Aspects in Food Systems of South Asia. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1986. Collingham, Lizzie. Curry. A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors. Oxford University Press, 2006.


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