Food Across Borders (SCT2131.01)

Emily Mitchell-Eaton

Food is in constant flux. In this course, we will study food through the geographic lenses of migration and mobility. We will consider how immigration and diasporas shape food cultures, practices, and identity, paying careful attention to the role of immigrant workers in food-related industries, whether on dairy farms, in poultry plants, or in restaurant kitchens. We will also map out the historical and contemporary mobilities of food commodities and ingredients, from the chili pepper to the coffee bean. Most importantly, we will think about how food shapes power and politics at multiples scales: How have food companies like United Fruit, Tyson Poultry, and Dole expanded U.S. imperial power and markets into Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific? How has militarism and war affected food availability, edibility, and rations, leading to the creation of foods like Spam and Korean budae jjigae (army stew)? How has the expansion of the meat-packing industry across the U.S. Midwest and South prompted immigration to these regions, transforming their demographic landscapes? How are the borders of nations, neighborhoods, and ‘cultures’ produced, policed, and contested through food? In asking these questions, we will consider how food—cooking food, eating food, growing food, and transporting food—is profoundly political as well as geographical.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00-11:50
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only
This course is categorized as All courses, Environment, SCT.