Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 535: The Historical Geography of Food

Instructor: Elizabeth Hines

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This course will examine the foodways of different cultural regions from the prehistoric era of hunter/gatherers, through the invention of agriculture, into the modern period. It will include the diffusion of sedentary agriculture from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean region and into Europe, Africa and Asia in the Neolithic period, the effects of early world trade on changing foodways in Europe and Asia during the Medieval period, the exchange of foodways between the Old and New Worlds during the modern period and the effects of exploding population and enhanced food production and storage methods on current and future world and regional food supplies.

Other topics will include the causes and effects of famine, the exploitation and decline of world fisheries, and climatic and economic parameters of food production world wide. The role of foods in a variety of cultural practices will be explored as well, especially its place in religious and other ceremonies and its variety of prohibitions.

There will be at least two field trips: certain--The Food Bank of Central and Southeastern North Carolina; Dogwood Farms Organic Farm; proposed--a food processing plant, such as House of Raeford.

In addition to discussions of assigned readings, videos, field trips and current events about food, which include all the topics listed above, students will conduct and present research on an approved food topic and prepare and sample exotic and/or historic foods. Students will also be required to keep a food journal for a month of what they consume, with whom, where they eat, and where their food comes from--always an important personal revelation.

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Images are provided by the instructor.

Last Update: March 18, 2013