Food Matters

Food Matters

“Come to the table” to see food is an amazingly powerful part of social and cultural life, not just calories to fuel our bodies! In this FIG you will learn how the study of food can help you understand some of the key challenges and opportunities facing humanity. Learn through visits to restaurants, markets, food pantries and gardens! 

Deep-Dive FIG: This FIG is part of the food cluster, which includes multiple field trips and hands-on events. This course has been vetted by First Year Programs to ensure first-term students can achieve success. The instructor will be available to assist students along the way.

Students explore the intersection of topics by taking the following course package:

UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1-credit

ENVS 225 Introduction to Food Studies - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course provides an introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary "field" of food studies and an introduction to the place of food in society. Using a comparative global perspective, we will explore the complex ways in which our foodways have emerged and explore the roles food plays at present. We will examine large-scale patterns and as well as the more intimate ways we engage or experience food in our daily lives. We will address key questions such as: Why use food as lens on society? How did the food system we have today develop? With what effects on the environment and our health? How does food help create meaning and identity for people in different cultural contexts? Why do some people (continue to) struggle to get enough food, while others eat so much that it makes them sick? What does the future hold for our engagement with food? What roles can or should we play in the food realm going forward?

HIST 215 Food in World History - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course introduces students to the history of food practices from ancient times to the present. It has no prerequisites, and can be taken in lieu of a more general history survey or alongside one. The course is divided into two chronological halves, the first centered on the ancient and premodern world and the second on the modern world. Topics in the first half include the development of constellations of eating habits and culinary philosophies characteristic of major world religions and the long-distance transfer of foodstuffs and culinary philosophies through migration, conquest, and trade. The second half of the course covers such themes as the impact of food cultivation and harvesting on the environment, the industrialization of food systems, the rise of restaurants and fast food, and the relationship between cooking and eating and national, ethnic, class, and gender identities.