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AMST 245
Race, Power, & Food History Fall 2019
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed HIST 265 / AMST 245 / ENVI 246

Class Details

Have you ever wondered why Spam is so popular in Hawaii and why ramen noodles are a cheap, ubiquitous food? Are you curious why black-eyed peas and collards are considered “soul food”? In this course, we will answer these questions by digging in to the histories of global environmental transformation through colonialism, slavery, and international migration. We will consider the production and consumption of food as a locus of power over the last 300 years. Beginning with the rise of the Atlantic slave trade and continuing through the 20th century, we trace the global movement of plants, foods, flavors, workers, businesses, and agricultural knowledge. Major units include rice production by enslaved people in the Americas; Asian American food histories during the Cold War; and fat studies critiques of critical food studies. We will discuss food justice, food sovereignty, and contemporary movements for food sustainability in the context of these histories and our contemporary world. Readings are interdisciplinary, but our emphasis will be on historical analyses of race, labor, environment, and gender.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1983
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two to three short writing assignments (4-5 pages); one longer final paper (8-10 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Environmental Studies majors and concentrators
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 265 Division II AMST 245 Division II ENVI 246 Division II
DPE Notes: This course considers the production and consumption of food as a locus of power over the last 300 years, and contextualizes current movements for food justice and sovereignty in light of those histories. Students will have opportunities to reflect on questions of power, privilege, and racism in contemporary food movements. Our final unit focuses on challenges to critical food studies from fat liberation and body positivity
Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada

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