R. Kenji Tierney
Anthropology Dept
Union College

download as PDF doc


What is the relationship between food and the body? If eating is the act of taking the world into our bodies, how does this affect our worldviews? What are the boundaries of food and the body? Are you what you eat? Don¡¦t eat? Are you how you eat?

This course will consider these questions by looking at both anthropological approaches to eating, consumption, identity, the body and food while also examining current controversies such as obesity, genetically modified foods, and food taboos. While much of the course concerns itself with the cultural and historical construction of the American diet, the course will also draw examples from other cultures and societies.

The grades in the course will be determined by course participation, class presentations, and papers.



Participation = 10%

First Test = 20%

Second Test = 20%


Option One:

First Paper (6-8pp) = 25%

Second Paper (6-8)= 25%

Option Two:

Six literature review writing assignments (2-3pgs each) 50%

Late Paper policy:

The paper grade will drop by a full letter grade for each 24 hours that it is late.

Any paper that is five (5) days late will not be accepted.

Failure to complete any of the papers will result in an automatic ¡§F¡¨ for the course

Required Texts:

1. Caroline Knapp (2002) Appetites: Why Women Want. New York: Counterpoint Press.

2. Sidney Mintz (1996) Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom: Excursions into Eating, Culture, and the Past. Boston: Beacon.

3. Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney (1992) Rice as Self: Japanese Identities Through Time. Princeton: Princeton University Press

4. Eric Schlosser (2001) Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. New York: Perennial Press.

Section 1: Taste and Class

M 3/28 Introduction

W 3/30 ¡VMintz TFTF ¡§ Preface¡¨, ¡§Introduction¡¨ & ¡§Chapter 8: (xi-xix, 1-16, 106-124)

F 4/1 Video ¡V ¡§Modern Meat¡¨

¡V Margaret Visser (1991) ¡§Chapter Five: No Offence¡¨ in Rituals of Dinner

M 4/4 ¡V Sarah Jain (2003) ¡§¡¥Come up to the Kool Taste¡¦¡¨

¡V Pierre Bourdieu (1984) ¡§The Habitus and the Space of Life-Style¡¨

W 4/6 ¡V Wurgaft, Benjamin Aldes (2003) ¡§Starbucks and Rootless Cosmopolitan¡¨

¡V Spang, Rebecca (1999) ¡§All the World¡¦s a Restaurant¡¨

F 4/8 ¡V Sidney Mintz TFTF ¡§Chapters Four & Five¡¨

Section 2: Staple Foods and Identity

4/11 ¡V Ohnuki-Tierney RAS ¡§Chapters 1-3¡¨ (Pp. 3-43)

¡V Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson (2003) ¡§Writing Out of the Kitchen¡¨

4/13 ¡V Ohnuki-Tierney RAS ¡§Chapters 4-5¡¨ (Pp. 44-80)

¡V Sidney Mintz TFTF ¡§Chapter 7¡¨ (Pp. 92-105)

4/15 ¡V Ohnuki-Tierney (1990) ¡§The Ambivalent Self of the Contemporary Japanese¡¨

¡V Allison, Anne ¡§Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunchbox as Ideological State Apparatus.¡¨

¡V Video: ¡§Tampopo¡¨ Part I

4/18 ¡V Ohnuki-Tierney RAS ¡§Chapters 6-7¡¨ (Pp. 81-113)

¡V Jun Jing (2000) ¡§Food, Nutrition, and Cultural Authority in a Gansu Village¡¨

4/20 ¡V Ohnuki-Tierney RAS ¡§Chapters 6-7¡¨ (Pp. 114-136)

¡V John Feffer¡¦s ¡§Korean food, Korean Identity¡¨ (Pp. 1-54)

4/22 Video: ¡§Tampopo¡¨ Part II

Section 3: Disease, Safety and the Organic movement

4/25 ¡V Mintz TFTF ¡§Chapter Six¡¨ (pp. 84-91)

¡V Fiddes, Nick (1991) ¡§Food = Meat¡¨

¡V Adams, Carol ¡§The Social Construction of Edible Bodies and Humans as Predators¡¨ (247-251)

4/27 ¡V Daniel Buck, et al. (1997) From Farm to Table¡¨ (pp. 3-20).

¡V Alison Leitch (2003) ¡§Slow Food and the Politics of Pork Fat¡¨ (pp. 437-462).

¡V Spencer, Colin (1995) ¡§The Concept of Pure Food¡¨ (333-336)

4/49 Midterm

5/2 ¡VArntzen & Chalmers (2001) ¡§The Risks and Rewards of Biotechnology¡¨

¡V Annear, Christopher (2004) ¡§GM or Death: Food Choice in Zambia¡¨

¡V Pringle, Peter (2003) in ¡§So Shall We Reap¡¨ (184-203)

¡V Bill Lambrecht (2002) sections from Dinner at the New Gene Cafe

5/4 ¡V Brigitte Nerlich (2004) ¡§Risk, Blame and Culture¡¨

¡V Schlosser FFN ¡§Afterword: The meaning of mad cow¡¨ (271-288)

5/6 ¡V No Class ¡V College Holiday

Section 4: Fast Food, Industrial Appetites and Political Economy

5/9 ¡V Schlosser FFN Introduction & Chapter 1-2 (pp. 1-57)

¡V Samantha Barbas (2002) ¡§Just Like Home¡¨ (pp. 43-52)

5/11 ¡V Schlosser FFN Chapter 3- 4 (Pp. 59-107)

¡V Mintz TFTF Chapter 2-3 (Pp. 17-49)

5/13 ¡V Schlosser FFN Chapter 5-6 (Pp. 111-148)

5/16 ¡V Schlosser FFN Chapter 7-8 (Pp. 149-192)

5/18 ¡V Bak, Sangmee (1997) ¡§McDonald¡¦s in Seoul¡¨ (Pp. 136-160)

¡V Richard Manning (2004) ¡§The Oil We Eat¡¨ (pp. 37-45).

5/20 ¡V Schlosser FFN Chapter 9-10 & Epilogue (193-270)

Video: ¡§Discussion between Eric Schlosser and Morgan Spurlock¡¨

Section 5: Disordered Eating?

5/23 ¡V Brumberg, Joan Jacobs (1989) excerpts from ¡§ Fasting Girls

¡V Huff, Joyce (2001) ¡§A ¡¥Horror of Corpulance¡¦¡¨ (Pp. 39-59).

5/25 ¡V Knapp Appetites (Pp. 1-82)

¡V Pollan, Michael (2003) ¡§The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions of Obesity¡¨ (pp. 41-47).

5/27 ¡V Knapp Appetites (Pp. 82-118)

¡V Bentley, Amy (2004) ¡§The Other Atkins Revolution¡¨ (Pp. 34-45)

5/30 ¡V Knapp Appetites (Pp. 119-199)

¡V Kaylin, Jennifer (2004) ¡§The Belly of the Beast¡¨ (Pp. 31-37).

6/1 ¡V Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang et. al (2005) ¡§Male Body Image in Taiwan Versus the West¡¨ pp. 263-269

¡V Paul Campos (2004) excepts from The Obesity Myth (Pp. ix-xxvi. 3-40)

6/3 Final Exam