VASSAR LONDON PROGRAM IN MEDIA AND CULTURE
Director’s Seminar, Spring of 2019: Food, Culture, and Globalization in London
The course syllabus can be found here.
As much as food is necessary for human survival, it is essential to our collective life in society. Through eating and drinking, we construct, maintain, and remake collective identities (class, gender, ethnicity/nationality, and race) and status distinctions. Approaching food as material and symbolic media, this course critically examines how colonial and postcolonial conditions of the British Empire have shaped such mundane practices of producing, preparing, and consuming food in London. Topics will include tea, meat, fruits and vegetables, politics of authenticity in ethnic food and restaurants, culinary nationalism and cosmopolitanism, urban farming, and inequality and food consumption. Throughout the semester, students will learn how different forms of food have functioned as mass media for social identities and status distinctions among diverse groups of people living in London as the capital of the colonial empire and postcolonial global city.
The seminar has four thematically organized sections that illuminate London’s shifting position in the global history. The weekly seminar will be followed by a field trip to specific sites in London pertinent to the topic.