This syllabus is a living document and changes occasionally, depending on what’s going on in the course. If you print it out, you’ll need to keep your paper version up to date with the online version. If you keep a browser tab open all semester, make sure you refresh it when you go to look up the next assignment and reflection prompt. I will always announce important changes in class.
All readings that aren’t already online (and some that are) will be available through the class Zotero library. This will be discussed in class, but for reference, please see the instructions for connecting. The URL for the group library is https://www.zotero.org/groups/1647225/food-tech-society-unm/library.
Today we’ll review the syllabus, course aims, assignments, Zotero, and general plan for the semester. We’ll also discuss the problematic nature of natural food as a way of considering some key issues we’ll be discussing throughout the semester.
Today we’re looking at a couple of very different takes on the necessity and utility of food science. Why are these so different? Where do such divergent views come from?
Melanie Warner, Pandora’s Lunchbox, xiii–xix; 1–20 (Weird Science). This is a super quick read, but what do you think she thinks of food technology?
Feeding the World Today and Tomorrow: The Importance of Food Science and Technology. We’re focused just on the beginning part of a LONG defense of Food Science and Technology. What are the assumptions that go into the introductory sections that frame the justification of technological progress?
For class: What do you think of Warner’s definition of processed food? What are the aspirations of food scientists? How are economies of scale intimately tied to our understanding of natural food? What are key transportation developments that influenced what and how we eat? What’s the difference between food grown in the ground and food produced in the lab? Does all food boil down to chemistry?
Jennifer Wallach, How America Eats, 89–100 (Chapter 4: Technology and Taste; notice the chapter goes to 110, so don’t read the whole PDF).
Medical Adviser 17 (1824), “Dyspepsia” (258 - top of 260).
cronon 1 and half of 2.
How were relationships to nature changing toward the end of the 19th century? Did people want to get back to nature? How could they? What were consequences for how food was represented and marketed? There might be a quiz covering the first two weeks of class. Refreshing your mind of the readings and discussions could be useful.
(sort of biotech theme)
Kellogg primary reading
Anna Zeide, Canned, 1–9; 10–40.
Digestion in the newspapers in prep for your Ad Analysis Assignment.
something from poison squad? maybe 2 and 4 ()
William Boyd, “Making Meat: Science, Technology, and American Poultry Production”, 631–664.
Johnstone somewhere around here (from 1940)
Laura Shapiro, Something from the Oven, 3–40.
Laura Shapiro, Something from the Oven, 41–84.
(no aps this week; no serentdpity th,f); research, other assignment to avoide class?
Prepare an executive summary of the history of organic agriculture and, more importantly, how the present meanings and assumptions of the organic label deviate from that. Consult the Executive Summary Writing Guide.
For this assignment you’ll critique a website of your choosing that discusses whether GMOs are safe. Consult the website analysis guide for more details. As with all your assignments, the goal is to put the course to use in addressing ‘real-world’ discussions about the impact of technology on food safety and quality. The best essays will draw together various themes from the course and makes extensive use of the Jenkins reading.
Instagram food, presentation, identity, preservation https://gradfoodstudies.org/2017/11/11/eating-for-the-insta/
When accessing the readings through Zotero, remember that each Zotero item (a reference to a book, usually) can contain multiple PDFs. Double-clicking the item will load whatever Zotero has decided is the ‘first’ PDF, which might not be the one that you’re supposed to read. Clicking the arrow to on the left of the item will reveal all PDFs; once visible, you can click to open the one you need.
Drawing widely from this week’s readings, submit an executive summary of YOUR take on the place of ‘secret’ ingredients in convenience foods and what the role of federal regulation should be. I’m NOT asking you to simply summarize the readings, but to use them as a basis for a more philosophical piece on food additives generally. Questions to consider: What kinds of things should be allowed in our food? What is the role of regulation? How can it be enforced? How precise should labeling be? What are the problems with full transparency? How do we assess risk of food additives? Consult the Executive Summary Writing Guide.
Final Essays should be emailed to me before you go to bed on Friday, May 15th (or perhaps early Saturday morning). If you need a few more days, that’s fine, but you must email me to let me know (you don’t need to ask, just let me know). Grades are due in the middle of the week so there isn’t much more leeway I can give you, unless you want to take an Incomplete.