Anthropology of Food

ANTH 2140
Fall 2020
Mon/Wed 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Online; synchronous session Wed 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Instructor: Colin Pitet
Email: colin.pitet [at] brooklyn.cuny.edu
Office: online via Zoom
Office hours: Wednesday12:30 pm and by appointment

Course Description:
As organisms, humans need to eat to live. As cultural beings, eating and food provide some of the most basic ways in which humans define themselves. One group’s delicacies are another’s taboos, and what defines comfort foods and favorite dishes shifts drastically across cultures and individuals. Eating and food are simultaneously profoundly personal, deeply cultural, inherently economic, and increasingly political. This course is organized around food consumption, food circulation, food production and politics, and the ethnography of food and eating. There will be readings and small project assignments that explore the central issues of each topic. Emphasis in assignments will be placed on students exploring what food and eating are and mean in hands-on ways, such as through visiting culturally-specific and green markets, and reflecting on their own relationships to food.

Course objectives:

  • To learn to use food as an analytical entry to thinking about culture.
  • To think, read, and write critically.
  • To make cross-cultural connections between your own and other cultures.
  • To learn about cultural anthropological theory and methods.

See the Course Schedule for readings and Due Dates for assignments.