HC 101H: Philosophy of Food

Professor: Hannah Cutting-Jones

4.00 credits

• CRN 16606: Tuesday & Thursday, 1015-1145 @ ALL 101

• CRN 18202: Tuesday & Thursday, 1615-1745 @ This course will be held remotely

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” – Jean Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

In this class we will examine philosophical questions about what we eat and why we eat it, a fascinating and interdisciplinary exploration of humans’ complex relationship with food. The class will be wide-ranging in historical and geographic scope. We will discuss connections between food and world religions; the deep roots of vegetarianism and animal rights; the links between food, gender, and race; the impact of industrialization, colonization, and globalization on foodways; nutritional science and health advice; climate change; and food as performance and political tool.   

During the first half of the class we will look at early historical ideas surrounding food, from Buddhist monks and Judaic dietary law to Greek physicians and scholars who shaped concepts of diet and health for thousands of years. The last part of the course will focus on the late nineteenth through the twenty-first century, a time in which industry was applied to the production of food, a process leading to homogenization and processed foods, population growth, urbanization, new social expectations, food violence, and a growing separation between humans and the natural world.