History 490T – History of Food

This course attempts to examine the importance of food as reflected through the archaeological, visual and textual sources from the antiquity till today. This survey course covers a broad geographical range of eating and drinking habits of people, from the early populations of Asia, Africa, Americas, to the Mediterranean world.  We will look at the geographical and economic factors, which led the people to eat different meats, insects, vegetables, and fruits. Old menus and recipes and the functions of farmers, butchers, and cooks in the world will be discussed. We will see how food is used as a mode of identification, the significance of feasts and fasts for different cultures and the role of food in the formation of group identity and socialization. Finally we will look at the inter­relationship between food and gender and how our diet has impacted the role of women and has sometimes been a cause of violence at homes.

Learning Goals & Objectives: The general goals of this course are to help students become historically literate.  In order to achieve such literacy, students should be able to:

    1. Demonstrate knowledge of historical facts, themes, and ideas
    2. Demonstrate the ability to reason through analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of archaeological, visual and textual evidence.
    3. Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate historical knowledge and reasoning through discussion, debate, and writing.

      Specific Goals:

      1. Understand why people ate the specific type of foods
      2. Understand why people drank the specific type of drinks
      3. Division of the world based on agricultural products
      4. Economic significance of food production
      5. The societal effect of feasting and fasting

      Grades & Assignment: The grade for the course will be based on your research paper which will be no less than 20 pages and three review essays on the assigned texts. You are to choose a topic for your essay within the first four to five weeks of the semester. Then you will have an opportunity to discuss your paper with the class to formulate a specific research question. Your essay should present a strong thesis statement backed by the primary (archaeological, visual, and textual) as well as the secondary sources.  Towards the end of the semester your paper will be presented to your colleagues, where they will critique and discuss it. Once you have received the critique from the professor and your colleagues, you are ready to write the final draft of your paper. IF YOU DO NOT PRESENT YOUR PAPER YOU WILL NOT PASS THE COURSE. You are also to prepare a food from the ancient or medieval cooking recipes and bring it to class? You need a C grade or better to pass this course.

      Paper 45 points Presentation 5 points Reviews 50 (10 point each) points

      Essay Format: The essay should be 15-20 pages, typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins and 12 pt. font. You can either have footnotes with bibliography or endnotes.  You can use the Chicago Manual of Style or K. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, & Dissertations.  *Late essays will lose 10 points each day.

      1. E. Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, Houghton-Mifflin, 2002.
      2. F. Fernandez-Arnesto, Near a Thousand Tables, Free Press, 2002.
      3. L. Lee Allen, In The Devil’s Garden, Ballantine Books, 2002.
      4. M. Pendergrast, Basic Books, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee
      5. C. Caunihan, Food and Culture, Routldedge, 2002.
      6. P. Faas, Around the Table of the Romans, Palgrave, 2002.

      Week 1: Introduction; Food, Preliminaries and Theories

      Week 2: Feeding Strategies in Prehistoric Times

      Week 3: The Social Function of Banquets in the Ancient Near East

      Week 4: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Iran, the Hebrews, and Phoenicians

      Week 5: Food Systems and Models of Civilization

      Week 6: Food in Classical Greece & Persia

      Week 7: Etruscan and Roman Diet

      Week 8: Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Diet

      Week 9: Food and Class in the Middle Ages

      Week 10: Food, Hierarchies, and Medicine

      Week 11: Fasting, Feasting and Religion

      Week 12: Food Trade, and Public Hostelries in Europe

      Week 13: How French Cuisine Saved the World

      Week 14: The American Diet and its Evolution

      Week 15: Papers and Presentations

      • History 490T – History of Food image

        History 490T: TH 4:00-6:45 / Room H125 Professor: Touraj Daryaee Office: H825 I Office Hours: TH 2:00-4:00 & By Appointment e-mail: [email protected]

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