We are constituted as human beings by the food we eat as well as by what we consider food. This course uses a cross-cultural perspective to explore the ways in which preparing, eating, and thinking about food demonstrate culturally determined gender and power relations around the world. We will emphasize the study of the connections among food, gender, the body, and culture in the Mediterranean. We will read philosophy texts, ethnographies, and popular food books in order to explore issues as diverse as cultural meanings of nutrition and body images, food and national identities, eating disorders, ‘high’ cuisine, and ‘countercuisine,’ radical consumerism, and the ‘slow food’ movement, among others. We will also engage in community-based research exercises throughout our voyage, with the objective of encouraging students to move beyond intellectual discussions to an experiential approach toward food production and consumption.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
Experience how a Barcelonan lives with a visit to the colorful and busy market of La Boquerìa in the city's old quarter. Originated in 1217, la Boquerìa began as an open-air market in front of Pla de la Boquerìa, one of the gates of the old city wall, where fruit and vegetable traders from nearby towns and farms would sell their products. This market is now covered with an iron deck, which was constructed in 1914. Today la Boquerìa Market is one of the city's main attractions, with an entrance from Las Ramblas, not far from the Liceo Theater, Barcelona's opera house. Vendors are mainly third and fourth generation salesmen, and the market offers a diverse selection of goods, including fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, breads and pastries, wine, and even handmade pasta. Assistant Professor Saida Palou i Rubio (University of Girona), who has conducted extensive research on the tourism industry in Barcelona, will introduce our students to the market and its connections with the tourism industry in the City. Then, explore Barcelona's rich intellectual and gastronomic culture at Les4Gats. This restaurant/bar opened in 1897 and has attracted writers and the intellectual community at large ever since, looking not only for food but for "the food of the spirit." A young Picasso had his first exhibition in the big room of the restaurant. Ruben Dario, Gaudi, Isaac Albeniz, are among the many important figures that have eaten at Les4Gats. Doctoral Candidate and Lecturer Francesca Uccella (University of Girona), who has studied literary routes in Spain and Italy from an anthropological perspective, will place Les4Gats' history and gastronomy into context.