HIST 303
Food in the Middle East: A History Spring 2022
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ARAB 303 / HIST 303

Class Details

In this course we examine the rich culinary history of the Middle East first among the three major religions in the region (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), then during the time of major Islamic Empires such as the Abbasids and Ottomans, and finally in the modern period. Using an array of primary and secondary sources, we explore the social, religious, literary, and economic place of food. We will study the consumption of an attitudes toward specific foodstuffs, gauging the medicinal and culinary value of spices, the historical taboos against drinking coffee and alcohol, and the dispute over various dishes within modern nationalist constructions. We will also investigate how Middle Eastern peoples from different ethnic, geographic, and religious backgrounds have historically used food to express their distinct cultural, national, and gendered identities.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 3657
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance, participation, map exercise, leading discussion, 3 short essays, final paper/research project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: History and Arabic Studies majors, seniors
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARAB 303 Division II HIST 303 Division II
DPE Notes: This course explores a variety of themes within Middle Eastern food history and their implications to different religious communities, genders, and/or socio-economic groups, across a large swath of time. Students will be asked to explore these topics in class discussions and writing assignments, using multiple comparative perspectives.
Attributes: HIST Group E Electives - Middle East
HIST Group P Electives - Premodern

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