American Food: A Global History (Gen Ed 1147)





If we are what we eat, well, here at the end of 2021, who the hell are we?


Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

Joyce Chaplin

Food has been central to American history, from Indigenous domestication of maize (now the world’s most common food staple) to European invasion in search of spices, and from the starving time in early Virginia to debates about fatness and health in the United States today. But what--if anything--is American about American food? What does food tell us about the American past and what might that past indicate about food today? How have food and eating changed over time? How have individual food choices and national food policies connected Americans to the larger world, both the social or political worlds of other human beings and the natural world of all other living beings? Readings will include primary (raw) and secondary (cooked) sources, and assignments will include two short papers, a mid-term exam, and either a final exam or an individual research paper or project.

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