COLLOQUIUM IN GLOBAL HISTORY:
FOOD, CULTURE, AND POWER: THE ROLE OF FOOD IN HISTORY
Prof. Martha Carlin
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
copyright 2017, all rights reserved
Office: Holton 328
Phone: (414) 229-5767
Messages: History Department Office (414) 229-4361
Home page: https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/
Office hours: Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:00 PM, and by appointment
This course will investigate the role of food in human history over the past five thousand years.
Course description: Are we what we eat? The history of human civilizations is inextricably bound to the history of food. This seminar will explore the role of food throughout human history. We will survey the history of food and eating chronologically, from Prehistoric times to the present, and we will examine the role of food topically, analyzing its place in agriculture and commerce; famine and war; religion, ritual, and taboo; medical theory and diet; hospitality and power; eating and manners; technology and the household; age and gender; wealth and poverty; class and ethnicity; popular culture and national identity; changing tastes and the evolution of fashion; and myth and memory. Students who take this class should expect to do a lot of reading and research, a lot of thinking and discussing, a lot of serious writing, and a certain amount of eating.
Email and Internet access: You will require an email account and access to the Internet for this class. All UWM students receive a free UWM email account, and have free Internet access via UWM computer terminals and WiFi in UWM buildings. The History Department regularly contacts students via their assigned UWM email addresses. If you routinely use another email service provider (e.g., Gmail or Yahoo!) instead of your assigned UWM email, please go immediately into your UWM email account and put a “forward” command on it, to forward all incoming email messages to the account that you routinely use. This is your responsibility; the History Department reflectors use UWM e-addresses only. (To put a forward command on your UWM email account: enter your Office 365 account and click on “?” to open the Help app. Type “forward mail” and then follow the directions to forward email to your desired account.)
Papers: There is a required weekly one-page précis of the assigned readings. There is also one required 20-page research paper and two required interim assignments designed to aid you in producing it. These written assignments are described at the end of this syllabus. The research paper is due in class in Week 11 (11 April).
Oral presentations: There is one required formal oral presentation. All students will prepare and bring to the final class (Week 15) one dish from the menu that is the subject of their research paper. Each student will give a three-minute oral presentation on that dish and its cultural and historical significance, after which we will all share the foods in a class banquet.
Exams: There will be no midterm or final exam.
Grading, deadlines, and attendance: Your final grade will be based on your weekly précis (25%); your attendance, active participation, and other work in class (30%), the two interim assignments (5% each), your research paper (30%), and your oral report (5%). All assignments are due on the dates specified in this syllabus. Late work will not be accepted, and absence from class will not be excused, except in cases of major illness or emergency (it is your responsibility to contact me immediately in such a case). Students who, during the first week of classes, do not attend class or contact me, may be dropped administratively.
Electronic devices in class: You may use a laptop, tablet, or similar device in class only for work related to this class, such as accessing assigned readings or taking notes. This is a zero-tolerance policy: any non-class use will result in the immediate forfeiture of the privilege of using such a device in class for the remainder of the semester. All other electronic devices, including phones, must be turned off and stowed away during class.
Disabilities: If you have a disability, it is important that you contact me early in the semester for any help or accommodation you may need.
Academic integrity at UWM: UWM and I expect each student to be honest in academic performance. Failure to do so may result in discipline under rules published by the Board of Regents (UWS 14). The penalties for academic misconduct such as cheating or plagiarism can include a grade of “F” for the course and expulsion from the University. For UWM’s policies on academic integrity, see http://uwm.edu/academicaffairs/facultystaff/policies/academic-misconduct/
UWM policies on course-related matters: See the website of the Secretary of the University, at: http://uwm.edu/secu/wp-content/uploads/sites/122/2016/12/Syllabus-Links.pdf
There are 2 required textbooks:
Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner (New York: Macmillan, 1986).
Reay Tannahill, Food in History (New York: Stein and Day, 1973; rev. edn, Three Rivers Press, 1988).
There are also required readings on D2L and on the Internet. These are listed below under TOPICS AND READINGS. The D2L readings, which are available under “Contents,” are from the following books and journal articles, for which UWM Library call numbers are also provided:
Achaya, K. T. Indian Food: A Historical Companion. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Call no.: GT2853 I5 A28x 1994
Banerji, Chitrita. “What Bengali Widows Cannot Eat.” Granta, 52 (Winter, 1995), 163-71.
Call no.: [a photocopy of Prof. Carlin’s copy is on D2L]
Carlin, Martha. “Provisions for the Poor: Fast Food in Medieval London.” Franco-British Studies: Journal of the British Institute in Paris, no. 20 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 35-48.
Call no.: [a photocopy of Prof. Carlin’s copy is on D2L]
Chang, K. C., ed. Food in Chinese Culture. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1977.
Call no.: GT2853 C6 F66
Counihan, Carole, and and Penny Van Esterik, eds. Food and Culture: A Reader. New York: Routledge, 1997.
Call no.: GT 2850 .F64 1997
Davidson, Alan. A Kipper with My Tea: Selected Food Essays. London: Macmillan, 1988.
Call no.: TX355.5 D38 1990
De Silva, Cara, ed. In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezín. Trans. Bianca Steiner Brown, with forward by Michael Berenbaum. Northvale, New Jersey, and London: Jason Aronson, 1996.
Call no.: D805.C9 I5 1996
Diner, Hasia R. Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration. Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2001.
Call no.: GT2853 .U5 D54 2001
Glants, Musya, and Joyce Toomre, eds. Food in Russian History and Culture. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1997.
Call no.: GT2853.R8 F66 1997
Grew, Raymond, ed. Food in Global History. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999.
Call no.: TX353 .F64 1999
Inness, Sherrie A., ed. Kitchen Culture in America: Popular Representations of Food, Gender, and Race. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.
Call no.: GT2853 .U5 K57 2001
Pilcher, Jeffrey M. ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.
Call no.: TX716.M4 P54 1998
Shapiro, Laura. “Do Women Like to Cook?” Granta, 52 (Winter, 1995), 153-62.
Call no.: [a photocopy of Prof. Carlin’s copy is on D2L]
Visser, Margaret. The Rituals of Dinner (New York: Penguin, 1991).
Call no.: BJ2041 .V57 1992
Watson, James L., and Melissa L. Caldwell, eds. The Cultural Politics of Food and Eating: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
Call no.: GT2850 .C853 2005
Zubaida, Sami, and Richard Tapper, eds. Culinary Cultures of the Middle East. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 1994.
Call no.: GT2853 N33 C85x 1994
TOPICS AND READINGS
WEEK 1 INTRODUCTION TO COURSE
24 Jan. Introduction to course
Discussion of everyone’s research interests
Discussion of the materials on the course discussion materials website
WEEK 2 GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE, FOOD RESOURCES, AND COMMERCE
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 19-41 (Chap. 3: “Changing the Face of the Earth”), 43-59 (Part Two, Introduction, and Chap. 4: “The First Civilizations”)
Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner, pp. 11-21 (Introduction: “What Shall We Have for Dinner?”)
Jack Goody, “Industrial Food: Towards the Development of a World Cuisine,” in Food and Culture: A Reader, ed. Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 338-356.
WEEK 3 THE STAFF OF LIFE: GRAIN AND SALT
7 Feb. [Assignment 1 due in class]
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 60-70 (Chap. 5: “Classical Greece”), 71-91 (Chap. 6: “Imperial Rome”), 92-102 (Chap. 7: “The Silent Centuries”)
Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner, pp. 22-55 (Chap. 1: “Corn: Our Mother, Our Life”), 56-82 (Chap. 2: “Salt: The Edible Rock”), 155-191 (Chap. 5: “Rice: The Tyrant with a Soul”)
WEEK 4 FOOD OF POWER: PROTEIN AND FAT
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 103-123 (Part Three: Introduction, Chap. 8: “India,” Chap. 9: “Central Asia”)
Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner, pp. 83-114 (Chap. 3: “Butter – and Something `Just as Good’”), 115-154 (Chap. 4: “Chicken: From Jungle Fowl to Patties”), 224-258 (Chap. 7: “Olive Oil: A Tree and Its Fruits”)
Margaret Visser, The Rituals of Dinner, pp. 227-242 (“Carving;” plus notes on pp. 370-1)
WEEK 5 RELIGION, RITUAL, AND TABOO
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 124-140 (Chap. 10: “China”)
The Bible, Leviticus, Chap.11 (Since this text has no argument or evidence, do not include it in your weekly précis; URL below)
Jean Soler, “The Semiotics of Food in the Bible,” in Food and Culture: A Reader, ed. Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 55-66.
Jeffrey M. Pilcher, ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), pp. 7-18.
Caroline Walker Bynum, “Fast, Feast, and Flesh: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women,” in Food and Culture: A Reader, ed. Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 138-158.
Margaret Visser, The Rituals of Dinner, pp. 33-37 (“Feasting and Sacrifice;” plus notes on pp. 360-1), 300-309 (“No Offence;” plus notes on pp. 374-5)
T. Achaya, Indian Food: A Historical Companion (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 61-71 (Chap. 6: “Indian Food Ethos”).
WEEK 6 MEDICAL THEORY AND DIET
28 Feb. [Assignment 2 due in class]
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 141-151 (Chap. 11: “The Arab World”)
Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner, pp. 259-284 (Chap. 8: “Lemon Juice: A Sour Note”)
N. Anderson, “Traditional Medical Values of Food,” in Food and Culture: A Reader, ed. Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 80-91.
Ronald L. LeBlanc, “Tolstoy’s Way of All Flesh: Abstinence, Vegetarianism, and Christian Physiology,” in Musya Glants and Joyce Toomre, eds., Food in Russian History and Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), pp. 81-102.
Alan Davidson, “Not Yogurt with Fish,” in idem, A Kipper with My Tea: Selected Food Essays (London: Macmillan, 1988), pp. 149-51.
WEEK 7 SHARING THE TABLE
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 153-173 (Part Three: Introduction; Chap. 12: “Supplying the Towns”)
Margaret Visser, The Rituals of Dinner, pp. 79-89, 109-136 (excerpts from Chap. 3: “The Pleasure of Your Company;” plus notes on pp. 363-5), 326-337 (“The Proprieties of Posture and Demeanor,” plus notes on p. 376)
Mauricio Borrero, “Communal Dining and State Cafeterias in Moscow and Petrograd, 1917-1921,” in Musya Glants and Joyce Toomre, eds., Food in Russian History and Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), pp. 162-176.
WEEK 8: EATING AND MANNERS
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 174-195 (Chap. 13: “The Medieval Table”)
Margaret Visser, The Rituals of Dinner, pp.146-155, 167-196, 208-210, 284-295 (“Taking Note of Our Surroundings,” “Fingers,” “Chopsticks,” “Knives, Forks, Spoons,” discussion of hamburgers, “All Gone,” plus notes on pp. 366-9, 373-4)
[SPRING BREAK, 19-26 MARCH 2017]
WEEK 9 TECHNOLOGY AND THE HOUSEHOLD
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 197-223 (Part Five: Introduction; Chap. 14: “New Worlds;” Chap. 15: “The Americas”)
Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner, pp. 192-223 (Chap. 6: “Lettuce: The Vicissitudes of Salad”)
Jeffrey M. Pilcher, ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), Chapter 5 (pp. 99-111).
Laura Shapiro, “Do Women Like to Cook?” Granta, 52 (Winter, 1995), 153-62.
WEEK 10 NO CLASS THIS WEEK: Finish your research paper!
WEEK 11 AGE AND GENDER
11 April [Research paper due in class]
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 224-229 (Chap. 16: “Food for the Traveller”)
Margaret Visser, The Rituals of Dinner, pp. 39-56 (“Learning to Behave: Bringing Children Up;” plus notes on pp. 361-2), 272-84 (“Feeding, Feasts, and Females,” plus notes on pp. 372-3)
Jeffrey M. Pilcher, ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), pp. 145-150.
Jane Dusselier, “Bonbons, Lemon Drops, and Oh Henry! Bars: Candy, Consumer Culture, and the Construction of Gender, 1895-1920,” in Sherrie A. Inness, ed. Kitchen Culture in America: Popular Representations of Food, Gender, and Race (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), pp. 13-49.
Chitrita Banerji, “What Bengali Widows Cannot Eat,” Granta, 52 (Winter, 1995), 163-71.
WEEK 12 WEALTH, CLASS, AND ETHNICITY
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 230-279 (Chaps. 17-18: “A Gastronomic Grand Tour: 1 and II”)
Martha Carlin, “Provisions for the Poor: Fast Food in Medieval London,” Franco-British Studies: Journal of the British Institute in Paris, no. 20 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 35-48.
Jeffrey M. Pilcher, ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), pp. 38-43, 52-57.
Hasia R. Diner, Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration (Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2001), Chap. 5 (“The Sounds of Silence: Irish Food in America”), pp. 113-45, 262-8.
WEEK 13 CHANGING TASTES AND EATING FOR PLEASURE
[?GUEST SPEAKER, 5:30-6:30 pm: Professor Rina Ghose, UWM, Dept. of Geography]
Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner, pp. 285-322 (Chap. 9: “Ice Cream: Cold Comfort”)
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 281-346 (Part Six: Introduction; Chap. 19: “The Industrial Revolution;” Chap. 20: “The Food-Supply Revolution;” Chap. 21: “The Scientific Revolution”)
Frederick W. Mote, “Yüan [ AD 1271-1368] and Ming [AD 1368-1644],” in K. C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese Culture (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1977), pp. 234-240.
Yunxiang Yan, “Of Hamburger and Social Space: Consuming McDonald’s in Beijing,” in The Cultural Politics of Food and Eating: A Reader, ed. James L. Watson and Melissa L. Caldwell (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), pp. 86-103 (excerpt).
WEEK 14 MYTH AND MEMORY; FOOD AND GLOBAL HISTORY
Reay Tannahill, Food in History, pp. 347-371 (Chap. 22: “Confused New World;” Epilogue)
Cara De Silva, ed., In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezín, trans. Bianca Steiner Brown, with forward by Michael Berenbaum (Northvale, New Jersey, and London: Jason Aronson, 1996), pp. ix-xvi, xix-xliii.
Jan Thompson, “Prisoners of the Rising Sun: Food Memories of American POWs in the Far East During World War II,” in Food and Memory: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery 2000, ed. Harlan Walker (London: Prospect Books, 2001), pp. 273-86: https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/prisoners-of-the-rising-sun/
Alan Davidson, A Kipper with My Tea: Selected Food Essays (London: Macmillan, 1988), “Funeral Cookbooks,” pp. 27-8.
Sami Zubaida, “National, Communal, and Global Dimensions in Middle Eastern Food Cultures,” in Sami Zubaida and Richard Tapper, eds., Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (London and New York: I.B. Tauris,1994), pp. 33-41.
Raymond Grew, “Food and Global History,” in Food in Global History, ed. Raymond Grew (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999), pp. 1-14, 22-29.
WEEK 15 ORAL PRESENTATIONS AND BANQUET
Oral presentations (described at beginning of syllabus, under Oral presentations; worth 5% of final grade), followed by class banquet.
I. Weekly précis (25% of final grade):
For each assigned reading other than Tannahill, provide a complete bibliographical reference, followed by a brief summary of the main argument(s). Do not discuss factual information, just identify the arguments. For each argument, cite the relevant page number(s). The total length of your weekly précis may not exceed one double-spaced page.
II. Interim assignments for research paper (each worth 5% of final grade):
Assignment 1 Due in class, Week 3 (7 Feb.)
Topic for your research paper. Must include:
3 choices of menus (ranked 1-3)
Complete copy (photocopy or print-out) of all 3 menus
Complete bibliographical references for all 3 menus, including complete internet citation(s), if applicable
Date, place, and occasion or historical context of each of your 3 menus
Assignment 2 Due in class, Week 6 (28 Feb.)
Annotated bibliography of three relevant primary sources and seven relevant scholarly secondary sources that you will be using to research your chosen menu.
See instructions at end of syllabus for proper Bibliography format to use.
Be sure to identify your menu, and to provide a complete bibliographical reference for each source, including, if applicable, a full Internet reference.
Annotate each source with a brief (one paragraph maximum) description of its contents and its relevance to your chosen menu.
III. Research paper (30% of final grade):
The paper is due in class in Week 11 (11 April). No extensions will be allowed on the paper except in the case of major illness or emergency (please contact me immediately in such a case).
The focus of your paper must be your edition of an actual menu as an historic document. You may choose your menu from any place and any period in world history, but it will have to be approved by me. I have placed a sample collection of menus on my home page, and you are welcome to choose one of these or to find your own. Only one student may work on any individual menu or menu collection. You must submit your choice to me by Week 3 (see above, Assignment 1) for approval.
Your paper should concentrate on asking, what does this menu tell us about the society that created it?
There are many possible ways to approach this question. For example, what does your menu say about its society’s:
Climate and agriculture?
Economy and trade?
Access to distant or foreign products?
Wealth and power?
Good times or hard times?
State of peace or war?
Religious traditions and taboos?
Medical and nutritional theories?
Household labor arrangements?
Eating conventions concerning age, gender, and class?
Cultural preferences, and ethnic and national identities?
Role of fashion in food consumption?
Myths and memories?
Attitudes towards food and eating?
Your menu may commemorate a religious holiday or a special event, such as a coronation, a military victory, a wedding, or a funeral. Equally, it may represent a typical, “everyday” meal, for a private household or an institution (e.g., a school, a prison, or a military unit), or it may represent the commercial offerings of a restaurant, hotel, or cruise ship. The intended diners may be rich or poor, and they may be living in a time of war or peace, in good times or bad. Therefore, you might also wish to consider whether or not your menu:
Is typical of the “everyday” food of its place and period?
Is designed as a piece of political, religious, or cultural propaganda?
Is place- or class-specific?
Is intrinsically commercial or institutional, or domestic in character?
Is designed to please the diners, or to control them, or both?
Your paper must be 18-20 double-spaced, typescript pages long, exclusive of endnotes, bibliography, and any appendices.
Your paper must be based on a minimum of three primary sources and seven scholarly secondary sources.
All ONLINE SOURCES (including Wikipedia) ARE PROHIBITED except for:
Primary sources available online (e.g., original menus, diaries, letters, archival sources)
Scholarly books or journal articles available online (e.g., through JSTOR)
Maps and other illustrations (optional)
In searching for sources, in addition to the readings on this syllabus (and the sources they cite), you may wish to consult the following very useful online bibliographies on food history:
Thomas Gloning, “Bibliographies” “Bibliography on Cookery, Food, Wine, etc., mainly 1350-1800”
Kenneth Lipartito, “Food in History Bibliography”
New York Public Library research guide: “Culinary History”
THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION FORMAT FOR YOUR PAPER IS THAT OF THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE:
Your paper must be written at a college level, using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It must also be fully documented with endnotes and a bibliography, using the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) format. Other forms of citation, including parenthetical citations, are not acceptable. (Recent versions of Microsoft Word include Chicago-style citation format as a built-in option for footnotes or endnotes. Be sure to use ENDNOTES with ARABIC NUMERALS for this paper.) UWM subscribes to CMOS online.
For a quick overview, consult the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide, at: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
The numbered entries are examples of Notes; the unnumbered entries are examples of Bibliography entries.
The full text of CMOS is accessible from UWM-login computers at:
Use the links below to go directly to (1) the full CMOS chapter on “Documentation I: Notes and Bibliography,” and (2) examples of Notes and bibliographical entries:
You can also find links to various other writing guides and Chicago-style documentation guides on my homepage at: