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In a world glutted with food, why do millions still suffer chronic hunger? In an international community committed to free trade, why is food the most common source of trade wars and controversies? In a country where less than five percent of the population farms, why does the “farm lobby” remain so politically powerful? In societies where food has never been faster or more processed, why are organic and “slow” foods in such demand? These are among the questions this course will consider, drawing on the insights of both political economy and cultural analysis.
Our perceptions of food are often limited to familiarity with its preparation and consumption, but do we consider food as an extension of the self or as a marker of class, gender and sexuality? This course will look at food as an intersection of production, consumption and signification, and at how different cultural traditions regulate gender by infusing food with socially determined codes. Readings include Margaret Atwood, Isak Dinesen, Marguerite Duras, Laura Esquival, among others. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: W. Reyes