Food Studies (FOOD)


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Philosophical Inquiry area

This course is an introduction to philosophy—to its main aims, methods, areas, and tools. But there’s a twist: we will develop your ability to do philosophy by working through some of the most interesting philosophical issues raised by food and eating. We will investigate ethical and political questions about food such as: Should we eat meat? What should we make of the claims that people are responsible for disordered eating (of the kind e.g. that might lead to obesity or anorexia)? How does gender intersect with these issues? Do we have a duty to relieve hunger? If so how demanding is it and what grounds it? We will also address questions about the epistemology of food such as: What can we learn from others about taste? Is there expertise when it comes to flavor judgments? Are judgments about the flavor and quality of food and drink ever objective? How can we know? We will also think about the philosophy of science: Is blind tasting reliable? Is it the best way to judge wine quality? We will investigate aesthetic questions about food and drink: Is there an art form of food? Can food be expressive? Can it be representational? Can food and drink be beautiful? Readings will come from both classic and contemporary writings about food and eating. And there will be a number of in-class food-related activities that we will use to spark insights, foster discussion, and anchor our thoughts. Cross-listed with PHIL 118.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Historical Inquiry area

This course is a survey of the history of food in what is now the United States, from the Pre-Columbian period to the present. In this interactive class, some questions we will explore include: How did Pre-Columbian Native Americans transform nature to sustain themselves? In what ways is food a window on European colonization and plantation slavery? How did urbanization and industrialization change food production and consumption? What does food tell us about the immigrant experience, war, changing gender relations, and identity formation? What are the ecological and social consequences of industrial farming during the 20th century and early 21st century? How can we feed nearly 8 billion people on a planet undergoing rapid climate change? Cross-listed with HIST 127.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: First Yr Integration (LC Only), Literary Inquiry area, Global Diversity level 1

Are we really what we eat? What makes Italian food “Italian”? What’s the difference between a Spanish “tortilla” and a Mexican one and why does it matter? Everything having to do with food is a cultural act (Montanari), and food, cooking, and eating have central roles in defining national cultures and in challenging them. In this course, we’ll learn how to think with food. This means we’ll consider how it creates identities and communities, how it exerts power and signifies privilege, and how it marks commonalities and differences, all by working with literary and film texts treating the discrete and intermingling food cultures that characterize our world and our lives here in San Diego. By acquiring a critical vocabulary to analyze food as a text, students will recognize intersections between social class, ethnic identity, and gender that provide an essential foundation for social justice-focused endeavors.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Theo/Religious Inquiry area

An introduction to religious studies through a consideration of food, the systems that produce food, and the religious and ethical questions associated with food. We will consider the theme of religion and food in select Abrahamic traditions (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions), Dharma traditions (Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist traditions), indigenous North American traditions, and ask what food means or should mean at USD as a value-based Catholic university. Cross-listed with THRS 233.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Advanced writing competency, Advanced Integration

Prerequisites: FOOD 118 or FOOD 127 or FOOD 133 or HIST 127 or PHIL 118 or THRS 233

A capstone seminar for Food Studies minors in which students plan and execute senior projects (in most cases, a substantial research paper). Students will synthesize and apply knowledge and skills from at least two disciplines. Classes will be seminar-style, with required participation among all students. The focus will be on demonstrating a practical grasp of food’s potential to advance social change.