Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology
E200 | 1225 | Tucker

Have you heard the phrase, "you are what you eat?"   The consumption
and production of food is common to all peoples.  Yet the ways that
our food is produced and consumed, and our choices of preferred food,
are distinctive indicators of who we are and our relationships with
the rest of the world.  This course explores social and cultural
anthropology, especially the central themes and perspectives, with
food as a connecting thread.  By focusing on food, we have a window to
the great diversity of world cultures as well as the similarities that
unite all humanity. We will explore broad themes, including  (1) the
meanings and importance of food as part of culture, identity, and
social status, (2) historical changes in food production and
consumption as they relate to transformations in social organization,
technology, and political economy through time, (3) how different food
production systems, demand for certain foods and international trade
impact the environment and people's socioeconomic conditions, (4) how
people deal with potential threats to food quality, such as
radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, genetically modified organisms
(GMOs), and Mad Cow Disease, (5) how individual lives and cultures are
impacted by unequal access to food and the means to produce it.  As
part of the class, we will learn about
variations in typical foods and diets around the world.  The class
will participate in exercises that explore what food means to us, the
role of food in special occasions (such as Thanksgiving and weddings),
and the implications of food choices for ourselves, our society, and
the planet.

Major course requirements include timely completion of class
assignments, participation in class, written summaries of exercises
and key readings, and several exams.