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license cc-by-nc-sa Unless otherwise noted, this OER ANTH 2140 Anthropology of Food was created and curated by Professor Joseph A. Torres-González for Brooklyn College Fall 2022 and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Assignments & Instructions

Collaborative Note Taking– During Each class meeting, a group of students will be taking notes on the class discussions. This task promotes participation, collaboration, and encourages engagement with other colleagues, along with building professional skills, such as: teamwork, synthesizing material, active participation/active listening, among others.  We will have a shared Google Doc link available for all the students in class.

Sign up for a date in which you would like to participate as note-takers.

Midterm Essay

Midterm Essay ANTH 2140 - Fall 2022 - Brooklyn College

The deadline for the midterm essay is Sunday, October 2, 2022 before 11:59PM.

Final Assignment

Final Reflection Instructions ANTH 2140 F22

The deadline for the final assignment is Wednesday, December 14, 2022 before 11:59PM.

PD: I will not accept late assignment submitted after December 14, 2022.

Documentary Analysis The Hand That Feeds– Bonus Assignment/Optional (10 points) 

After watching in class the documentary “The Hand That Feeds” (2015), respond to the following questions in a one-page response paper:

  1. What conversations are you seeing/hearing in the documentary around beauty?
  2. From what point of view is the documentary speaking? What perspective is it offering on events and arguments?
  3. Can you relate to this viewpoint or at least understand where it’s coming from?
  4. What are the relationships you identify between labor, fast-food worker organizing, and social justice?

The deadline for bonus optional assignment is November 15, 2022.

Weekly Forum Questions

You can find the instructions for the weekly forums in our Syllabus on Page #3 and in the following link under Section A- “Course Requirements and Assignments”

Week #2- What is food? What is a cuisine?

1- Eugene Cooper discusses the significance and importance of Chinese table manners in China through a cultural relativist view, without making judgments and comparing his culture to theirs. What are some of the practices he mentions in his article? How do think these observations help us understand parts of Chinese culture and values?

2- What does Mary Douglas propose when she mentions that food is a “code”?

The deadline for this forum is September 13, 2022 before class time.

Week #3- Taste, the body, and eating

1-What is taste? How does Bourdieu distinguish “necessity” versus “luxury”? How does Bourdieu present his perspective by using food as a tool to analyze social class?

2- “Food must nourish the collective stomach before it can feed the collective mind” (Harris, 15) What does Harris mean by this when speaking of food choices?

3- What are the tensions between “indulgence” and “restraint” pointed out by Margaret Wilson? How are they related to Americans “preoccupation with slimness”? (161)

The deadline for this forum is September 13, 2022 before class time.

Week #4- Food and Social Justice: Case Study – NYC Street Vendors

1- What role does legislation – and public policy – have in the regulation of food trucks in NYC? How are food trucks criminalized?

2- How is food vending shaped by class and race? What are the connections you can identify between food and gentrification (the influx of more affluent businesses and residents to a specific geographic area) in NYC?

The deadline for this forum is September 20, 2022 before class time.

Week #5- Food & Language

1-What is language? What is linguistic relativity?

2- What is the importance of language in the study of food, according to Riley & Cavanaugh (2017)? What are some of the examples they provide?

The deadline for this forum is October 18, 2022 before class time.

Week #6- Food, Health & Migration:  The case of NAFTA and Mexico

1- What is the relationship between food, health and migration?

2- How has NAFTA changed the diet of people in the United States and Mexico?

The deadline for this forum is October 18, 2022 before class time.

Week #7- History, Anthropology and Food: “A Match Made in Heaven”

1- How did the relationship between sugar, its production and consumption change over time? What is the relationship between sugar, The Transatlantic Slave Trade, and the Industrial Revolution?

The deadline for this forum is October 25, 2022 before class time.

Week #8 – Labor Organizing and Food: The case of Fast-food and service workers

1- How does the documentary “The Hand that Feeds” address issues of inequality in the food service industry in New York City? How does labor organizing, and solidarity play an important role within the food industry?

The deadline for this forum is November 1, 2022 before class time.

Week #9 – Case Study: Starbucks, consumption, and caffeine

1-What can we learn from “America” (culturally, politically, and economically) by observing the rise and fall of Starbucks (as a brand, and as a “third space”)? What are the relationships between social class and consumption as highlighted by William Roseberry in his article “The rise of the Yuppie Coffees”?

The deadline for this forum is November 15, 2022 before class time.

Week #10 – Food and Community Gardens: Two case studies – USA and New Zealand

1- What are the roles of community gardens in the food landscape? What are some of the differences between the case studies highlighted this week (DC/New Zealand)?

The deadline for this forum is November 22, 2022 before class time.

Week #11- Cookbooks, Identity & Nation

1- How are cookbooks a cultural product linked to notions of identity and nation? What are the differences highlighted by the authors (Folch & Appadurai) in the cases of India & Cuba?

2- What are some of the findings presented by Zafar (2019) in her work researching the archives of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg’s  cookbooks? How are these part of the “Black culinary history”?

The deadline for this forum is November 22, 2022 before class time.

Week #12- Disposing: an ethnography of trash

1- What connections can you identify between trash and consumption? What did trash reveal about New York City during the height of the pandemic? Think about consumption, social class, and urbanism.

The deadline for this forum is November 29, 2022 before class time.

Week #13- Indigeneity & Food Sovereignty 

1- What is food insecurity? How did the researchers use PhotoVoice to engage with the participants? How was this method used to document food access?

2-What are the politics among restaurant owners in California? What are the intersections within identity, race, immigration and restaurant ownership?

The deadline for this forum is December 6, 2022 before class time.