Gastronomy

  • MET ML 589: Nature's Past: Histories of Environment and Society
    Historians? approaches to environmental history, including human elements of technology, demography, local knowledge, political ecology, and social organization. Geographical foci include North America, Atlantic World, Asia, and Africa.
  • MET ML 610: Special Topics in Gastronomy
    ML610 is the designation for "Special Topics in Gastronomy". The subject matter for ML610 courses changes from semester to semester, and more than one ML610 can be offered in a given semester. Course descriptions for all ML610 sections are listed below. For more information, please contact the department Graduate Student Advisor.

    Fall 2016 -- Special Topic: "Ethical Eating and the Food Movement"

    This course will consider the industrialization of agriculture and the emergence of global food supply chains, and the corresponding efforts to find alternatives, such as sustainable and ethical food consumption, "slow food", "locavores", veganism, "meatless Monday", organic agriculture, community-supported agriculture and many more. Utilizing ethnographies, documentary films, short videos and photographs, the class will explore how issues such as environmental sustainability, globalization, health and social justice are embedded in new food movements, and we will ask if and how ethical eating has become primarily an elite social practice.
  • MET ML 611: Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
    How people have obtained and processed a wide range of foods through time, beginning with early humans. Food used by hunter/gatherers; changes in diet and nutrition through time to early farmers. Examines archaeological evidence for types of plants and animals exploited for food, as well as human skeletal evidence for ancient nutrition and diseases related to diet and food stress. Consideration of early historical periods, especially in terms of how certain foods such as wine have played a significant role in culture beyond basic dietary needs.
  • MET ML 612: Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
    Exploration of the food cultures and technologies through material culture- pots, pans, and utensils. Course will range broadly across cultures, time, and space with emphasis on medieval and early modern times. Life histories of humble, overlooked, everyday objects associated with food preparation and consumption; kitchens from prehistory to the present; tradition and fashion in cooking & dining vessels; pots and cooking technology; pots as metaphors & symbols.
  • MET ML 613: Debating Diet
  • MET ML 614: Philosophy of Food
    "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are."-- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) In this course, we will use the tools of the philosopher to study various aspects of food--its classification, preparation, consumption, and judgments about the practices affected by it. The focus in this course will be how philosophers contribute to food studies through engagement with long-standing philosophical questions--not just in aesthetics, moral and political philosophy, but also in metaphysics and epistemology. Topics addressed in the class may include foods as natural (or non-natural) kinds; cultural knowledge, know-how and food traditions; eating and identity; eating, rationality and norms; vegetarianism and moral philosophy; and neuroscience, culture and taste.
  • MET ML 615: Food Memoir
  • MET ML 619: The Science of Food and Cooking
    Cooking is chemistry, and it is the chemistry of food that determines the outcome of culinary undertakings. In this course, basic chemical properties of food are explored in the context of modern and traditional cooking techniques. The impact of molecular changes resulting from preparation, cooking, and storage is the focus of academic inquiry. Illustrative, culturally specific culinary techniques are explored through the lens of food science and the food processing industry. Examination of "chemistry-in- the-pan" and sensory analysis techniques will be the focus of hands-on in- class and assigned cooking labs.
  • MET ML 620: Food&Literature
  • MET ML 621: Researching Food History
    This research seminar in food history focuses on the markets and marketplaces over centuries and across a wide geographical area. The focus of this seminar is to hone students? research and writing skills. The broad general topic will allow students to pursue their own special research interest within a larger context while working with others engaged in similar research and writing challenges. By the end of the semester, students will have made a start on conference papers in the field of food studies and indentified potential venues for presenting their work. 4 cr
  • MET ML 622: History of Food
    History is part of a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to food studies. Our goals in reading history include understanding the ways in which the history of food has shaped our world today and examining ways in which contemporary questions and problems inform historical inquiries. Course readings address some of the ways in which food has influenced human history, particularly at crucial turning points -- for example, the rise of the first civilizations and the European discovery of the Americas. We will also study selected past events and societies through the lens of food and foodways. The topics chosen for the course are presented in thematic and geographic categories, rather than in strict chronological order. The themes are divided among three encompassing meta-themes: Technology & Nature, Mobility, and Culture & Cuisine. These meta-themes will help us to move from the details of our specific weekly topics to their meanings in relationship to larger forces in world history. Students will learn about historical methodology and apply it to their own research.
  • MET ML 625: Wild and Foraged Foods
    Humans have been foraging for food since prehistoric times, but the recent interest in wild and foraged foods raises interesting issues about our connection to nature amid the panorama of industrially oriented food systems. From political economy to Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), this course explores how we interact with, perceive, and know our world through the procurement of food. Students take part in foraging activities and hands-on culinary labs in order to engage the senses in thinking about the connections between humans, food, and the environment.
  • MET ML 631: Culture and Cuisine: France
    The association between France and fine cuisine seems so "natural." French society and history are intertwined with the culinary, and have been since the court society of the Old Regime. After the French Revolution, French cuisine became a truly modern affair in the public sphere. The invention of the restaurant, the practice of gastronomy, a literature of food, and strong links between French cuisine and national identity all came together in the 19th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, French food, featuring both haute cuisine and regional culinary specialties, was widely considered the world's best. In the 20th century, the culinary allure of France continued to fascinate people all over the world. It is still said today, enviously, that the French really know how to appreciate good food and wine "la bonne chère" in their daily lives. This course looks at how the history of French culinary culture evolved in the particular way that it did. The course is organized largely chronologically, but not entirely, as some of the readings weave issues of different times periods thematically. In studying culture and cuisine, with France as a great example, we will explore the relationship between a place, a people, and their foodways. We launch our investigation with the question: how and why is this relationship distinctive in France?
  • MET ML 632: History of Wine
    Understanding wine is impossible without knowing its rich and varied history. This course provides a survey of significant developments in the production, distribution, consumption and cultural uses of grape-based alcoholic beverages in the West. Topics include the role wine has played in the economy and culture of civilizations from the ancient Near East all the way through to its global impact in the 21st Century. We will focus in particular on wine as a religious symbol and a consumer beverage in the modern world.
  • MET ML 633: Readings in Food History
    A comparative perspective on issues of human subsistence through time. Changing patterns of nutrition and health, agricultural production, methods of coping with famine and organizing feasts, and origins and impact of culinary and dietary innovations.
  • MET ML 638: Culture and Cuisine: New England
    How are the foodways of New England's inhabitants, past and present, intertwined with the history and culture of this region? In this course, students will have the opportunity to examine the cultural uses and meanings of foods and foodways in New England using historical, archaeological, oral, and material evidence. We will focus on key cultural, religious and political movements that have affected foodways in the region, as well as the movement of people.
  • MET ML 641: Anthropology of Food
    What can food tell us about human culture and social organization? Food offers us many opportunities to explore the ways in which humans go about their daily lives from breaking bread at the family table, haggling over the price of meat at the market to worrying about having enough to eat. Food can also tell us about larger social organizations and global interconnections through products like Spam that are traded around the globe and the ways in which a fruit like the tomato transformed the culinary culture of European nations. In this course we will consider how the Anthropology of Food has developed as a subfield of Cultural Anthropology. We will also look at the various methodologies and theoretical frameworks used by anthropologists to study food and culture. 4 cr.
  • MET ML 642: Food Ethnography
    This course explores what food ethnography is and how food ethnographers work. Students will learn about food ethnography by reading and discussing its methods and by practicing them. Students will write a research design for an ethnographic project on some aspect of Boston?s multifaceted alternative food system, carry out the research, analyze their data, and write up and orally present the results. Students will learn about and use the methods of participant observation, interviews, photography, food mapping, informant documentation, food logs, and others. They will learn about research ethics. They will pay particular attention to the ways that studying food culture presents unique methods and insights.
  • MET ML 643: Special Topic: Food, Culture and Exchange - The Economic Anthropology of Food
    Economic exchanges are influenced by culture. This is particularly true when it comes to exchanges that have to do with food. This course explores the cultural aspects of economics and food, serving as a lens through which to view the complex human relations and exchanges known as economics. Discussion of topics such as gift exchange, bartering and the question of the commons, as well as the economics of local food, reconnecting consumers with their food supply, urban foraging and alternate economic activities related to food production and consumption. Using an anthropological framework to understand the cultural aspects of exchange, the course will cover the economic and cultural underpinnings of food systems throughout the world. 4 credits
  • MET ML 650: The Foundation of Beer and Spirits
    The objectives of this course are to explore the great variety of beer styles and spirit categories currently available and the role each plays in our culture. We will survey significant developments in the historical evolution, production, distribution, consumption and cultural usage of these alcohol beverages in the United States. We will taste beer and spirits extensively to demonstrate examples of the most important categories and classifications.