ANTH 361 A: Anthropology of Food

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
10326
Instructor:
Ann S. Anagnost

Syllabus Description:

This course will be held online at the time listed in the time schedule. Class meeting content will be recorded for those who are unable to attend synchronously.

End-of-Year Picnic: June 5, 12-2, Picardo Farm Community Garden, 8040 25th Ave NE, just north of Dahl Playing Field and U Prep High School. Food and drink offerings welcome.

Cook Along: June 4, 10-12, I will be demonstrating the recipe for Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie) on Zoom, which I will be making for the picnic. Zoom link

Instructor: Ann Anagnost (anagnost@uw.edu)

Place and Time: T, Th, 2:30-4:20 pm, Online

Office Hours: After class T and Th. We can also set up an individual meeting on Zoom or FaceTime. 

Office Hour for Asynch Students: Thursdays 6 pm (look for link on the Zoom page)

Writing Intern: Miranda Keene 

Miranda will be offering essay planning sessions for the first two papers for this course. You can book your appointment with her here.

 

COURSE SYLLABUS

The special theme for this course is “Nurturing Life in a Time of Pandemic.” We continue to face significant challenges due to the pandemic. Many of the readings will remain the same from earlier quarters, with a few additions, with a special focus on what lessons we can learn to help us in our present circumstances. The tricky balance I am trying to strike here is how to face the challenges of a society rapidly being overwhelmed by the scope and scale of the pandemic, without being overwhelmed ourselves. I don’t want to make the course too heavy, but rather to open up some hopeful spaces for thinking how things could be otherwise and hopefully to imagine a practical politics to achieve it.

In light of this, we will begin by looking at two current discussions in the humanities: (a) the politics of care and (b) broken worlds thinking.

Politics of Care: Never has a crisis more clearly revealed the dangers of a lack of universal healthcare for the public health. The COVID virus  transcends all boundaries: race, class, nation, age, while also revealing the fragile infrastructure of our health care systems and a failure of an organized governmental response at the federal level that affects poor people more dramatically. What should be our desired model for care in this instance? And how do we endeavor in ways large and small to advocate for it? Our first reading “Radical Care for Uncertain Times” will address these questions.

Broken Worlds Thinking: Our second reading will introduce us to a critical querying of the importance of maintenance and repair in a neoliberal culture focused, perhaps too insistently, on innovation and capital accumulation at the expense of sustainability and resilience.

Main Course: The third reading on food and the good life will then lead us into the central focus of the course on food as an embodied aspect of culture. We will be exploring the intersection of anthropological writings about food culture and the senses, and other topics such as food and identity, food and memory, the power of food to make community, and food as a means to construct ethical selfhood. But throughout, we will also continue to focus on how our explorations might be  a resource to nurture ourselves and others in need in a time of pandemic. What lessons can we learn to help us in our current situation?

The Logistics of Remote Learning.

  • Each class will be recorded for students unable to attend at the regularly scheduled time.
  • The class discussions will be live on Zoom during the regular classroom hours. 
  • Students have the option of having their cameras off or on during discussion. If you have your camera off, please display a photo to help create a sense of connection. If you don't want your camera on all the time, consider activating it when you are speaking. But I don't want fears of camera use to discourage you from participating.
  • To keep talking over each other to a minimum, I suggest you use the raised hand signal to indicate you wish to contribute and it will signal to me to call on you.
  • No recording is allowed without my permission to protect student privacy according to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Please do not share the access url and password for the Zoom sessions with those not enrolled for the class.
  • Please observe the standard for constructive and respectful engagement in online discussions at all times.

Course Requirements.

Each set of readings will have its corresponding discussion board on Canvas where students can post a short reading response , about one paragraph, that will be submitted prior to class to generate class discussion. A prompt will be provided, although you need not necessarily be limited by the prompt question. These responses can be highly personal, but please be aware that you are publishing them to the class. The reading responses are low stakes assignments and are ungraded but they count for points indicating completion of the assignment. To be given full credit for this assignment, you must address some aspect of the reading by identifying a passage from the reading as your jumping off point for your comment. This is good practice for how to engage with the readings in the short essay assignments that are the graded portion of the course. There are altogether 16 reading sets for this course and each student is responsible for writing briefs for 10 of them, so you have some flexibility in choosing which readings to respond to. However, all students are expected to complete the readings for all sessions and be ready to discuss them in class.

The graded assignments will take the form of mini-essays (three pages in length, 750-800 words) written in response to a prompt. These mini essays will be graded on how well the writing responds to the prompt and demonstrates thoughtful processing in terms of making connections with the readings and other course materials.

The mini-essays will take the form of a writing genre called the “familiar essay.” These essays can be highly personal in connecting to your own experience but they must open up to larger questions that we are developing in this class. This means that they should demonstrate active engagement with the readings and other materials. In other words, the mode of writing is a hybrid between personal and more formal academic writing with in-text citation of the readings. I will be assigning examples of creative food writing to inspire you to do your best writing. 

W Credit

The writing component of this course will qualify you to receive W Credit. We will have a peer review activity with each of these assignments. Each student will have two peer reviewers. The peer review assignments will be set up through the Canvas Website. Feedback can be given as marginal comments on the draft or through the rubric on the right side of the screen. You are also encouraged to seek writing help from the Odegaard Writing Center

In addition, Miranda Keene will be a writing tutor for this course. Miranda is working on her skills as a developmental editor as part of her career trajectory. She was a student in this course last fall and was a writing intern from my Anth 311 last quarter. The students who worked with her were very pleased with her input. Her appointment times will be limited, so if you are interested you should contact her as soon as possible. I will be posting her contacts as soon as she finalizes her schedule for this quarter.

Hands-on Activities with Food

Originally this class included four group cooking activities in the Husky Den Kitchen. These activities were closely tied to the course readings and discussions for the class. We cooked a meal together that reflected the "food views" of four of the cultures we read about. Much to my regret, this will not be possible this Spring because of the need for remote teaching. But the menu plans are integrated into the course schedule in hopes that some of you would be interested in trying them out at home.  I am very open to your including commentaries on your cooking activities as a form of self-care as supplementary material to your responses to the discussion prompts and mini-essays. Recipes and photos are welcome as additional elements to your written work.

The $30 course activity fee has been eliminated for this reason and I urge you to spend these funds for improving your Internet access for the quarter if you can (see below for some solutions). 

Point Breakdown

Discussion Briefs (10 out of 16  10 points (1 point each, ungraded, partial credit for late work)
Peer-Review Activity  15 points (5 points each, ungraded)
Mini-Essays 75 points (25 points each, graded)

Total: 100 points

Grades will be calculated as follows: total number of points multiplied by 4 and divided by 100 to convert to the 4.0 scale. If there is a decimal remainder of .5 or higher, it will be rounded up.

Accessing Course Activities Online

The City of Seattle has programs for low-cost, high-speed internet that cost around $10 a month, and also offers free and discounted computers and smartphones: 

https://www.seattle.gov/tech/services/internet-access/low-cost-home-internet-access-for-residents

https://www.seattle.gov/tech/services/free-and-discounted-devices

Course Materials:
All of the shorter readings are available as hyperlinks on the class schedule below. I will be adding links for powerpoint and zoom recordings as we go. The assigned books are all available as e-books) through the UW Library Portal and a link is provided for each. We will be readings significant portions of the four books listed below and the library has license for unlimited users, so online access should not be a problem. The pandemic has presented us with an economic shock as well as a public health challenge, so I have endeavored to make costs for this course as minimal as possible. The only exception to this is one video ("Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat") that must be accessed through Netflix. However, Netflix has a 30-day free trial that you can use to view it.

Books:

David Sutton, Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory.

Carol Counihan, Around the Tuscan Table: Food, Family, and Gender in Twentieth-Century Florence.

Judith Farquhar, Appetites: Food and Sex in Post-Socialist China.

Judith Farquhar and Qicheng Zhang, Ten Thousand Things: Nurturing Life in Contemporary Beijing.

Extra Credit for Service Learning:

Students interested in getting their hands dirty are welcome to sign up for service learning credit in Anth 489: Anthropology Practicum.  I am a gardener at the Picardo Farm Community Garden (located on 25th Ave NE about two miles from campus near to Dahl Playing Field and on the 372 bus route) and I have arranged with Alexandria Soleil, our volunteer coordinator, to set up opportunities for student volunteering. Most of the activities will be preparing beds for spring planting in the giving garden (growing food for local food banks), gleaning, harvesting, weeding, composting, etc. We have elderly gardeners who may need a little help getting their beds prepared for planting. There is also a children's garden where volunteer hours are always needed.

If this location is not convenient for you, you might find another community garden closer to home. Seattle has almost 100 gardens altogether. You can find a map here (Links to an external site.). To participate, you would need to connect me up with their volunteer coordinator. If you have difficulty finding this person, let me know. You can also volunteer at the UW Student Farm (volunteer informationLinks to an external site.). Or you can volunteer in any local organization that is focused on food-related activism (e.g., Green Plate Special, Beacon Hill Food Forest, etc.) .

Practicing the COVID guidelines is obligatory (social distancing, masking, hand washing, remaining out of doors, sitting out if you have been exposed to someone with COVID or are feeling symptoms).

Students would need to commit to 20 hours of volunteer work for 2 credits and to deliver a short essay (3-5 pages) documenting their learning at the end of the quarter. I will be posting updates to the student volunteers about work parties. I live close by Picardo Farm and can also help direct student volunteers according to a schedule that works for everyone. So if you are not available during the work parties, I may be able to fill the gap. 

 

Class Schedule

 

Tuesday, 3/30

Introduction

Zoom Recording

 

 

Thursday, 4/1

The Politics of Care

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Google Doc Workspace (for collaborative work during small group discussion, those unable to participate synchronously are also encouraged to contribute).

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

Hobart and Kneese

José Andrés

Seattle Kitchen Collective

Recommended:

Video: Tarik Abdullah of Feed The People 

News Article: Silvia Federici and Reclaiming the Commons 

Tuesday, 4/6

Broken World Thinking

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

Jackson

Chronicle of Higher Education

Recommended:

McKibben "The Cuba Diet"

Solnit  "Detroit Arcadia"

Research report: Food Sovereignty in a Time of Pandemic

News Article: How COVID may change our food system.

 

Thursday, 4/8

Food and the Ethical Self

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

Farquhar, “Food, Eating, and the Good Life.”

Tuesday, 4/13

An Anthropology of the Senses

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

David Sutton (Introduction: A Proustian Anthropology)

(pp. 1-18)

Slater (excerpts)

Thursday, 4/15

The Art of Food Writing and the Familiar Essay

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint 

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

MFK Fisher

Wizenberg

Gannon

Anon

Tuesday, 4/20

Food and Social Connection

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

Feld

Thursday, 4/22

Food and Memory

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

 

Reading Assignment:

Proust

Seremetakis

Viewing Assignment:

Film: Ratatouille (short clip)

Tuesday, 4/27

"The Displacing Foods of Modern Commerce"

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

Weismantel

Haden

Thursday, 4/29

Food and Identity

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

 

 

Optional Kitchen Activity: Soul Food Dinner

Reading Assignment:

Rouse and Hoskins

Klindienst

Viewing Assignment:

Film: Soul Food Junkies 

Film Transcript

Recommended:

Heirloom Collard Project

Michael Twitty's Southern Discomfort Tours

Tuesday, 5/4

La Cucina Povera (The Cuisine of Poverty)

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom recording

Reading Assignment:

Counihan (Chapters 1-3)

Thursday, 5/6

First Essay Peer-Review Activity. Assignment Check-in.

First Essay Draft Due at Midnight Thursday, May 6, Submit here.

Peer Review Due at Midnight Saturday, May 8.

Final Draft due Midnight Sunday, May 9. Submit here.

 

Tuesday, 5/11

Slow Food

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Optional Kitchen Activity: Tuscan Bean Stew and Polenta

Reading Assignment:

Leitch

Viewing Assignment:

Film: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (first episode on Netflix)

Thursday, 5/13

Terroir, Constructions of Place, and the Mediterranean Diet

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

 

Reading Assignment:

Trubek

Iglesias López

NYT article: The Island Where People Forget to Die

Viewing Assignment:

Film: Soup over Bethlehem

Tuesday, 5/18

A Proustian Anthropology

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

Sutton, "The Ritual and the Everyday" and "Remembered Gifts, Forgotten Commodities" (pp. 19-71)

Thursday, 5/20

Second Essay Peer-Review Activity. Assignment Check-in.

First Draft Due at Midnight, Thursday May 20. Submit here.

Peer Review Due at Midnight Saturday, May 22.

Final Draft due Midnight Sunday, May 23. Submit here.

 

Tuesday, 5/25

Learning Cooking

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Optional Kitchen Activity: Lentil Soup and Sourdough Bread

Reading Assignment:

Sutton, "Doing/Reading Cooking" (pp 125-158)

Due to problems accessing through the library, here is a link for a pdf for the reading for today.

Thursday, 5/27

A Politics of the Senses

Discussion Board (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

Reading Assignment:

Farquhar, Appetites (Lei Feng, Tireless Servant of the People pp. 37-46) and (Excess and Deficiency pp. 121-166)

Tuesday, 6/1

To Live

Discussion Board  (due before class)

Powerpoint

Zoom Recording

 

Optional Kitchen Activity: Chinese Dumplings

Reading Assignment:

Farquhar and Zhang, Ten Thousand Things (How to Live pp. 125-167)

Viewing Assignment:

Film: Sunrise Over Tiananmen SHquare

Thursday, 6/3

Third Essay Peer-Review Activity. Assignment Check-in.

First Draft Due: Midnight, Friday June 4. Submit here.

Peer Review Due: Midnight, Sunday June 6.

Final Draft Due: Midnight, Tuesday, June 8. Submit here.

 

 

 

Catalog Description: 
Explores how foods reproduce social relations, the meanings food acquires within culture, how food systems are intertwined with structures of power and economic inequality, national cuisines and restaurant cultures, the global marketing of foods, controversies surrounding GMO foods, and alternative food communities. Prerequisite: one 200-level ANTH course.
Department Requirements: 
Anthropology of Globalization Option
Medical Anthropology & Global Health Option
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
December 6, 2021 - 10:22pm