HIS 12 Food and History
Sally McKee and Andre Resendez
This course surveys how humans have fed themselves from the time they were hunter gatherers to the present and shows how new feeding patterns have transformed cultures, economies, and societies. This historical survey traces the transformation of plants and animals into food, cooking into cuisine, ceremony into etiquette, and mother’s cooking into tradition. In short, the lectures cover the social and political implications of food and its consumption on a global scale from pre-history to the twentieth century. The first half of the quarter will follow the passage from hunter gatherers to settled agriculturalists, and long-distance traders, culminating with the Columbian and Magellan exchanges across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively. The course will then examine the rise of a global economy in foodstuffs, including spices, tea, and coffee, the emergence of national cuisines, the industrialization of food in the twentieth century, and the impact of immigration on global culinary tastes.