Food Culture and Society (Gen Ed 1124)



Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

Theodore C. Bestor

Food is an entirely mundane but simultaneously elaborate aspect of human life, both pragmatic necessity and symbolic statement. This course examines how cultural systems of meaning and belief interact with social institutions and material reality. Lectures, films, discussions, fieldtrips, and ethnographic research assignments focus on the myriad ways in which food shapes (and reflects) identity (national, ethnic, religious, gendered, class-based), and how in turn how social institutions (from domestic units to the global food system) shape and transform food and its meanings, drawing on examples from many parts of the globe, both historically and contemporaneously.