Teaching

UCLA Spring 2017:

Food. Power. Money. Science.

Critical explorations in the history of ideas about how to make healthy bodies and minds through food. Concentrating on the United States and English-language science and food writing, the course is centrally concerned with the politics of how foods—and the bodies that consume them—have been valuated across national boundaries in modern history (roughly 1850 – present). In other words, how are foods nationalized, classed, raced, and gendered? How do foods come to be deemed healthful? Dangerous? Disgusting? Delicious? Are we really what we eat? How do such ideas circulate within consumer capitalism? With questions like these as a starting point, we explore changing American foodways (cultures of preparing and eating food) within the themes of colonial/imperial acquisition; nutritional science and public health; dieting and excess; food science, including functional foods and supplementation; and foodie-isms, such as the Slow Food and locavore movements. We follow how scientists, companies, and citizens have produced—and erased—connections between what we eat, what we feel, and what we can do, and consider how much these (dis)connections are worth.

Previously Taught:

University of Toronto

HIS202 Gender, Race, and Science

This course critically explores the ideas of ‘race’ and ‘sex’ in modern science, concentrating on the United States and English-language science, and with consideration of European colonial and post-colonial contexts. How have scientists, doctors, naturalists, and other experts interpreted the ‘truth’ of human difference? How have ‘race’ and ‘sex’ come to be the primary categories for articulating that difference? With these questions as our starting point, this course aims to unpack the history of changing claims that human difference has a biological underpinning. The course also traces critiques of racial and sexual science, and the various ways historical actors have argued that race and sex have psychological, cultural, or historical origins.

 

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