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Unit information: Food: a Global History (Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Food: a Global History (Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HISTM0048
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rob Skinner
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

We are what we eat. As such, the history of what we eat – and how we eat – touches on the basic fundamentals of the human condition. Food history is a history of everyday life in its essence – but it is also a history of the complex interactions between human biologies, cultures and politics. What we eat today is shaped by histories of science and technology (why does a fridge hum?), imperialism, globalization and economic development. But it is also a story of cultural change and exchange. In this unit, we will explore the global history of food, examining key aspects of a vibrant, complex and rapidly-developing historiography.

Topics covered will include food diffusion after Columbus, cultures and manners of eating, industry and food for mass society, modernity and food production, and twentieth-century food counter-cultures.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1) To give students a broad grounding in the study of history of food in the era of globalisation.

2) To improve students’ ability to argue effectively and at length (including an ability to cope with complexities and to describe and deploy these effectively).

3) To be able to display high level skills in selecting, applying, interpreting and organising information, including evidence of a high level of bibliographical control.

4) To develop the ability of students to evaluate and/or challenge current scholarly thinking.

5) To foster student’s capacity to take a critical stance towards scholarly processes involved in arriving at historical knowledge and/or relevant secondary literature.

6) To be able to demonstrate an understanding of concepts and an ability to conceptualise.

7) To develop students’ capacity for independent research.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Information

One summative coursework essay of 5000 words (100%). This will assess ILOs 1-7.

Reading and References

Claflin, Kyri, and Peter Scholliers, eds. Writing Food History: a Global Perspective. London: Berg, 2012.

Grew, Raymond, ed. Food in Global History. Boulder: Westview Press, 1999.

Mintz, Sidney Wilfred. Sweetness and Power : the Place of Sugar in Modern History. London: Penguin Books, 1986.

Tannahill, Reay. Food in History. London: Eyre Methuen, 1973.

Walvin, James. Fruits of Empire : Exotic Produce and British Taste, 1660-1800. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997.