Instructor: Scharnhorst M/W/F 1:25 – 2:20pm
Mark Menjivar’s photo essay “You Are What You Eat” (Gastronomica, Fall 2012) is a collection of twelve photos depicting the inside of various refrigerators. From a midwife/school teacher’s abundance of fresh produce to the college student’s beer and takeout containers, these powerful images convey a wealth of information about personhood in the United States. They raise questions not only about who or how these people define themselves, but also about how their relationship to food illustrate individual notions of identity.
This course attempts to answer those sorts of identity questions with a focus on how the language around food in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction explores issues related to gender, class, and culture. We will examine representations of American culture specifically, but with considerations to a global perspective.
The course will progress from a general historical background on food writing through a variety of cultural considerations in the study of food literature, including a closer examination of the influence of food in literature on taste, memory, and empathy.