English | Projects In Reading and Writing: You are How You Eat:
W170 | 12774 | Shishko
TOPIC: You are How You Eat: Food and Contemporary Culture
INSTRUCTOR: Bonnie Shishko and Andrew Fippinger
17507 MW 4:00pm-5:15pm SW 217 FIPPINGER
17506 MW 5:45pm-7:00pm BH 241 FIPPINGER
12774 TR 11:15am-12:30pm PY 115 SHISHKO
12777 TR 5:45pm-7:00pm BH 337 SHISHKO
As anthropologists have long known, food has been a central issue in
human life and culture from our very origins. Yet, in America at
least, food has hardly been talked about as an important cultural
category worthy of sustained consideration. In recent years,
however, food has been emerging rapidly as a major area of cultural
awareness. We can see this in pop culture, politics, and journalism:
think, for instance, of “Top Chef,” Rachel Ray, The Omnivore’s
Dilemma, Supersize Me, the organic, local, and slow food movements,
the Obamas’ organic garden on the White House lawn, and the general
increasing awareness about health, environmental, and ethical issues
connected to food.
This course will enthusiastically leap on this culinary bandwagon.
Our discussions and written assignments will investigate the subtle
and complex ways that food operates as a significant part of our
culture. Food will lead us to a number of interesting areas of
inquiry: regional, national, and religious identity; relations
between gender and food; body image and bodily health; belief
systems about food production, consumption, and presentation; food
as pleasure vs. biological need; moral concepts of control,
indulgence, and pleasure; the spaces in which we cook and eat; and,
not least importantly, that nebulous thing we call “taste.” In
written assignments, we will investigate how food and food practices
are represented in three very different types of media:
advertisements, cookbooks, and films.
Beyond advertisements, cookbooks, and films (already a wide range of
media!), we will work with journalism, scholarly articles, and
online blogs as secondary sources to help develop our conversations.
In order to work successfully with this wide array, the course will
emphasize specific methods of critical reading and analytical
writing skills. This course fulfills the English Composition
requirement. As such, there will be a series of short- to medium-
length essays that will push students to develop and refine their
reading, thinking, and writing skills.