ANTH 311 A: The Cultural Politics of Diet and Nutrition

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
10297
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.

Useful Links:

Info on The Culture and Politics of Food in Italy (Study Abroad Program in Rome, Fall 2021)

 

Class Time and Place: T, Th, 1:30-3:20 (Remote)

Instructor: Professor Ann Anagnost (anagnost@uw.edu)

Contact: anagnost@uw.edu

Instructor Office Hours: T, Th (after lectures about 2:30 and by appt.)

Teaching Assistants: Imam Subkhan (imams@uw.edu) and Claudia Serrato (serratoc@uw.edu)

TA Office Hours:

Claudia Serrato: Thursdays 7-8 pm, Zoom ID: 478 916 4884 Passcode: Food

Imam Subkhan: Tuesday, 12:30-1:30 pm. Zoom link: https://washington.zoom.us/j/96947040069

Writing Support Intern:

Miranda Keene (mirkee@uw.edu )

Miranda will be available for writing support for the first two papers. You can make an appointment with her as follows:

Planning Consult
Draft Review

 

 

 

This course investigates current debates within the United States about what dietary guidelines are optimal for maintaining human health and how changing conceptions of individual responsibility and political life are framing these debates.

First, we will look at how science is used to investigate the relationship between diet and the incidence of chronic disease in the United States since the 1970s. We rely on science to inform us about the pros and cons of different dietary approaches, but science itself is a messy process, in which differing paradigms compete within the context of contending social, economic, and political forces. Therefore, we will take a "science and society" approach to the study of competing dietary models and develop an understanding of science as a complex social process.

Second, the course will explore the emergence of a new kind of health consumer who seeks to manage their exposure to disease risk factors through diet. The use of new media, such as web blogs, will be explored as  technologies that disseminate emerging science through the creation of web communities that examine critically the often conflicting and confusing findings that surface in the news stream on health and diet. These web communities put scientists, physicians, health professionals, and self-educating health consumers into dialogue with each other in ways that may be very new. In the search for wellness, health consumers are engaging in a form of science with themselves as singular experimental subjects. We will be looking at how this form of "anecdotal" evidence is being weighed in relation to the more traditional forms of scientific research by the members of these Internet communities.

Third, we will explore how individuals are changing their relationship to what they eat through farm-to-table sourcing, reclaiming home cooking, self-provisioning, school food reform, and participation in social movements to build local and regional food systems as strategies to de-link from industrial agriculture. We will explore the difficulties of enacting these changes on a student budget and work collectively to find ways to make them more affordable. One such experiment right here on campus is the UW student farm. The farm, which is entirely run by students, was established in 2005 to help students reconnect with where their food comes from and to develop a vision for farm-to-table provisioning that would be viable even for large institutions like the UW.

Fourth, we will explore contemporary food ideologies that are forming web-based communities in the search for personal wellness, environmental sustainability, and social justice. How do people define their moral and ethical selves through food? What attracts them to a specific food philosophy? How does this reshape their relations with others? How do they use the evidence of their bodies to weigh the pros and cons of different nutritional ideologies? What are the possible dangers of "obsessing about food too much?" What counts as obsession in this context as individuals endeavor to change their own relationship to food in what is being defined in public debates as a "toxic food environment?"

 

The format of the class is lecture and discussion, there will be opportunities for discussion of lectures and readings. You will be expected to come to class having completed the reading for that day and be prepared to discuss.

Course Materials

  • Janet Poppendieck, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America. (Available as an ebook through the UW Library.)

Shorter readings available on the course website as pdfs or hyperlinks. 

Writing Assignments

There are three essay assignments, each assignment will be written in response to a prompt provided by the instructor. The essay topics are constructed to encourage engagement with the course material while also incorporating a personal dimension. It is a hybrid form that requires citation of the readings as a form of scholarly writing but combined with personal narrative (therefore the first person pronoun is allowed). The third essay requires "hands on" activity on your part, so you may wish to familiarize yourself with the assignment early in the quarter to keep it in mind as you engage in meal preparation for yourself or others.

  • An online research project on the "health blogosphere" (3 pages).
  • A school lunch memoir (3 pages).
  • Narrating an ethical meal (3 pages).

Discussion Groups

There are no sections for this class. The students will be divided into discussion groups of 10 or so students each. The membership of these groups will be constant throughout the quarter in order to encourage a sense of learning community.

Each student is required to write a discussion post that is a paragraph or two long for each of 13 (out of a possible 17)  reading or film-viewing assignment. The post may be in response to the prompt provided by the instructor, or on some other aspect of the reading/film that you would like to comment on. In either case, it is important for you to identify a specific passage in the reading or episode of the film that you can include in your post as a jumping off point for your own commentary in order to get full credit. This requirement is intended to document your engagement with the reading/film but also it is a good practice for the kind of engagement I am looking for in the three paper assignments. Each post is worth 1 point (out of 100 for the class) and should be approximately 250-300 words in length

Once you have submitted your post, you will be able to read and comment on the posts submitted by the other students in your group. Each student is responsible for commenting on 12 (out of 17 reading/film assignments) on a post written by another student. The comment needs to be substantive in that it cannot simply be a thumbs up but needs to develop a discussion. There is no word count requirement.

All discussion posts and responses for the week will be due by midnight of the Friday of that week. This will give you time to integrate the lecture material into your responses as well as the readings and films.

Credit Structure

25%     Health Blogosphere Research Project
25%     School Food Memoir
25%     Ethical Meal Project
13%     Discussion posts (for 13 out of 17 reading/film sets)
12%     Responses to other student posts (for 12 out of 17 reading/film sets) (1 point each)
100%   Total 

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.

A Good Strategy for Success:

Because the due dates for the three short essays are somewhat clustered in the second half of the quarter, it makes good sense to get your discussion posts done earlier in the class to free more time for when you are working on your essays. This also gives you a low stakes chance to practice the kind of writing I am hoping to encourage in your essays.

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 (Links to an external site.)

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

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 if we can make it work efficiently. 
  • 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 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 (Links to an external site.) (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 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 book (Poppendieck) is available as an e-book through the UW Library Portal and a link is provided in the class schedule.  

Expectations
Success in this course will require keeping up with the reading and being responsible for lecture content.  Written work will be evaluated on the basis of demonstrating engagement with the course materials.

Class email list: I will use the email list to communicate with you about changes in assignments, scheduling and visitor changes, and other general classroom issues.  I expect you to have a university email address at which you can be reached by messages addressed to the list.  Note that to reach me privately you should use my email and not the class list.

Plagiarism Policy
Students are expected to do their own work. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in zero credit for the assignment and possible further consequences in accordance with university policy and regulations. Information obtained from Internet sources must be acknowledged by citing the url (web address) and date of access, even if individual authors are not indicated. For further information on how plagiarism is defined by the university and university policies regarding plagiarism, see the following website: http://www.washington.edu/uaa/gateway/advising/help/academichonesty.php (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

 

Class Schedule
Tuesday, January 5

Introduction

Powerpoint

Zoom Recordings: I did this lecture as two separate recordings both of which are on this link. The first one has a bit of silence at the beginning so be patient. I need feedback on whether splitting the recording into small chunks improves the experience for you. You are welcome to submit your comments here.

 

Viewing Assignment (Short Film Clips): 

What is Real? (The Matrix)

The Me(a)trix

Food Inc. Opening Credits

We were not able to discuss the video material during class on this day but will pick it up again next Tuesday when we discuss the film Food Inc.

Thursday, January 7

Vitruvian Homer

Powerpoint

The ppt is now ready for download.

Zoom Recording This recording is one long recording. The first hour is lecture. The second hour is informal discussion. I forgot to turn over the recording for my TA meeting, so be forewarned! LOL!

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Susan Bordo, "Reading the Slender Body"

Viewing Assignment (Short Film Clip):

The Seven Deadly Sins

(Be sure to view the video after viewing the lecture material or it won't make any sense!!!)

Tuesday, January 12

Lifting the Veil

Powerpoint

The ppt is now available for download.

Zoom Recording

The Zoom recording is now available.

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

Viewing Assignment:

Film: Food Inc. (91 minutes)

Supplemental Viewing Assignment:

Fresh (72 minutes): Highly recommended if you were left feeling overwhelmed by Food, Inc. or if you have viewed Film, Inc before and wish to view something "fresh"! Access to Fresh has been requested through Kanopy to the UW. I will update on access asap.

Thursday, January 14

The High Cost of Cheap Food

Powerpoint

The ppt is now available for download.

Zoom Recording

The zoom recording is now available.

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Raj Patel, "Glycine Rex"

Viewing Assignment:

Argentina's Bad Seeds (25 minutes)

Supplemental Viewing Assignment:

Soyalism (65 minutes)

Tuesday, January 19

A Body Made Productive for Capital

Powerpoint

The ppt is available now for download.

Zoom Recording

The zoom recording for today is now published. The first few minutes are missing because I forgot the record button (doh!). See my weekly update email for a summary of what is missing because it was about the first paper assignment.

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Julie Guthman and Melanie Dupuis, "Embodying Neoliberalism"

"Is Dietetics a White Bread Thing?"

Thursday, January 21

Slow Death

Powerpoint

The ppt is now available for download.

Panopto

I had another recording fail during lecture today, so I recorded it again on Panopto. 

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

Reading Assignment:

Lauren Berlant, "Risky Bigness"

Sandra Cate, "'Breaking Bread with a Spread' in a San Francisco County Jail."

NYT: "Peak Season for Tamales" (Featuring our awesome TA Claudia Serrato)

Tuesday, January 26

Eat This! Don't Eat That! Dietary Recommendations as Biopower

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

 

Reading Assignment:

Marion Nestle, "Politics versus Science," and "Deconstructing Dietary Advice."

Thursday, January 28

Enterprising Selves

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Niklas Rose, "Governing Enterprising Individuals."

 

Tuesday, February 2

Diet Wars

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

Reading Assignment:

Hite et al., 

Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Executive Summary) (2020-25)

Wash Post Op Ed on the new guidelines.

Viewing Assignment: 

Diet Wars (60 minutes) The only way I can show this film is by streaming through zoom during class. I am working with tech support to see how I can improve the streaming quality and I will offer some alternate viewing times for a-synch students. You can access a transcript of the film here.

Thursday, February 4

The Health Blogosphere

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Gary Taubes, "What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie."

 

Tuesday, February 9

School Food is Industrial Food

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Janet Poppendieck, Free for All (Intro and Chapter 1) Ebook through UW Library Portal.

Black  ("Revenge of the Lunch Lady") 

Viewing Assignment (Short Film Clips):

Jamie Oliver's School Food Revolution Season 1, Episode 1 (watch footage: 2:12-17:00, 29:20-37:00)

 

Thursday, February 11

Office hours and Paper Check In

You are welcome to drop by the regular zoom meeting with your questions regarding the first paper due the following day. If this time is not possible, email me with your questions or to set up an alternate meeting time.

Friday, February 12

First Paper Due by Midnight on Canvas

 

Tuesday, February 16

The Paradox of Free and Reduced Lunch

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Poppendieck ( Chapters 5 & 7)

 

Viewing Assignment (Short Film Clips):

School Lunch in France 

School Lunch in Italy (watch footage 2:10-24.23)

 

Thursday, February 18

Local Heroes

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Poppendieck (Chapter 8)

Caitlin Flanagan, Cultivating Failure

Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl, "Gardens Cultivate Minds not Failure"

Green School Initiative, "Cultivating Healthy, Lifelong Learners." 

Viewing Assignment:

Growing Hope in the Urban Center

Supplementary Resources:

Edible Schoolyard Project

Edible Education 101 (This UC Berkeley Freshman Course has recorded presentations by many of the luminaries of the Food Change Movement).

Tuesday, February 23

Ethical Eaters

 

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Judith Farquhar, "Food, Eating, and the Good Life."

Thursday, February 25 Office Hours: Paper Check In

You are welcome to drop by the regular zoom meeting with your questions regarding the first paper due the following day. If this time is not possible, email me with your questions or to set up an alternate meeting time.

Friday, February 26

Second Paper due by Midnight on Canvas

 

Tuesday, March 2

Punk Cuisine

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

Reading Assignment:

Dylan Clark, "The Raw and the Rotten."

Thursday, March 4

Paleo Fitness

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

Reading Assignment:

Carerra-Bastos

Good Magazine

Valasquez-Manoff

Viewing Assignment:

My Big Fat Diet (45 minutes)

Tuesday, March 9

 Ancestral Health

Powerpoint

Discussion Board (Due Friday Midnight)

 

 

Reading Assignment:

Ann Anagnost, "Securing the Home Front."

Thursday, March 11

Office Hours and Paper Check In

You are welcome to drop by the regular zoom meeting with your questions regarding the first paper due the following day. If this time is not possible, email me with your questions or to set up an alternate meeting time.

Monday, March 15

Final Paper Due by Midnight on Canvas

 

 

 

Catalog Description: 
Examines current debates within the United States about what dietary guidelines are optimal for human health; how changing conceptions of individual responsibility and political life are framing these debates; how social movements for food sovereignty are changing food practices: and how eaters define their ethics through food. Offered: AWSpS.
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: 
January 24, 2021 - 9:00pm