Critical and Reflective Inquiry: Food, Culture, & Society



Course Number




Course Description

Theme: Food, Culture & Society


Students in this course will learn to examine both broad and specific issues in the relationships between food and community, society, culture, and identity through a social science perspective, asking questions such as: How can traditional foodways serve as an expression of cultural identity for a local or diasporic community? How do regional and global social, political, and economic forces impact the relationship between food and culture in local communities? What can the oral and folk histories of food practices within a community tell us about important cultural shifts related to political power, economic control, colonialism, and other central themes to the functioning of that community? Being focused on an elemental component of human survival, the study of food across multiple contexts provides a unique lens through which students can explore not only the practices and cultures of social groups from around the world, but also come to a fuller and more holistic understanding of their own food-related social and cultural practices and how these issues shape their own worlds and those of others around them. We will approach these issues through course readings and discussions as well as hands-on ethnographic fieldwork projects.


Fairhaven admission

Materials Fee


Required Texts

  • Counihan, Carole, and Penny An Esterik, eds. 2018 (4th ed.). Food and Culture: A Reader. New York: Routledge.
  • Peña, Devon Gerardo, Luz Calvo, Pancho McFarland, and Gabriel R. Valle. Mexican-Origin Foods, Foodways, and Social Movements: Decolonial Perspectives. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas, 2017.
  • Veteto, James R., and Edward M Maclin. The Slaw and the Slow Cooked: Culture and Barbecue In the Mid-South. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2011.


S/NX grading; narrative evaluation

Evaluation will take account of regular attendance, evidence of critical reading, engagement in class discussion and completion of assignments.


Fall 2023

Course Instructor(s)

Mark Miyake

Course Subject