Harvard College Food Classes: Fall 2011


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Interested in delving deeper into the world of food?
The Food Literacy Project is here to help with a list of classes available to undergrads that have a strong focus on food, nutrition, and agriculture. 

Food and Culture
Anthropology 1995
Ted Bestor
Food is examined for its social and cultural implications; nutritional or dietetic concerns are of secondary interest. Topics include food taboos and restrictions, gift giving and reciprocity, food symbolism and social boundaries, food panics, globalization of food industries, food security and agroterrorism, and the world standardization of food preferences. Examples are drawn from China, Japan, Korea, India, Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Pacific, and the US.
M/W/F  12pm, William James Hall 105
Website: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k80603
You Are What You Eat
Freshmen Seminar 25k
Karen Michels
What does food do to our bodies? What does a healthy diet entail? What is known about the role of nutrition in preventing or curing disease? Explores and critically evaluates diet recommendations, current knowledge about the role of diet in maintaining health, and use of nutrition to treat disease. Discusses how studies are conducted to understand the impact of nutrition. Explores different diets and the obesity epidemic, its causes and its implications for the next decades.
Mondays, 4-6pm, Robinson 106
Website: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k82036

Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter
Science of the Physical Universe 27
David Weitz
This course is a collaboration between world-class chefs and Harvard professors. Each week, a chef will lecture about some aspect of gastronomy. This lecture will introduce and motivate a lecture about the science of soft materials by the Harvard professors. The course will cover the basic concepts in the science of soft materials, providing a solid understanding of their properties and behavior. All food is made of soft materials, and cooking relies on many of their fundamental properties. The course will also include laboratory work that uses concepts of cooking to understand and motivate experimental measurements on soft materials.
Tuesdays/Thursday 1-3pm, Science Center C
Website: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k79962

American Food: Seminar
History 2402
Joyce Chaplin

From the starving time at Jamestown to present-day concerns over obesity, food has been central to the American experience. But what (if anything) is American about American food? After acquiring background skills in food history, students will do independent research on that central question.

Wednesdays, 12-2pm, Robinson Hall, Basement Seminar Room
Website: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k82425
Commodities in International History
History 79e
Alison Frank
Introduces students to international history through the study of commodities ranging from oil, coal, and cotton to potatoes, rum, coffee, and sugar. Showcases historical writings that transcend geographic, cultural, and political boundaries between East and West, North and South, Atlantic and Pacific as well as methodological boundaries between cultural, economic, business, and environmental history, the history of food, of technology, and of ideas.
Tuesdays, 1-3pm, Robinson Hall 105
Website: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k80050
Plants and Human Affairs
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 59
Donald Pfister
An introduction to the uses of plants by humans. Topics include the form, structure and genetics of plants related to their use as sources of food, shelter, fiber, flavors, beverages, drugs, and medicines. Plant structure and reproduction are studied in lecture and laboratory with a particular focus on relationships between the plant’s structural, chemical, or physiological attributes and the utility plant.
Monday/Wednesday, 10am
Laboratory Methods in Primate and Human Nutrition
Human and Evolutionary Biology 3350
Richard Wrangham
Independent laboratory study in the biochemical analysis of plant and animal foods, and of human and animal digestive physiology and feeding behavior.
Global Food Politics and Policy
Harvard Kennedy School: IGA-422
Robert Paarlberg
The politics of food is changing fast. In rich countries, obesity is now a more serious problem than hunger. Food companies and subsidized commercial farmers are facing stronger push back from environmentalists and consumer activists. In the developing countries of Asia, agricultural success has triggered income growth and dietary enrichment, but agricultural setbacks in Africa have left one third of all citizens poor and malnourished. The international markets that link these diverse regions together remain subject to protectionist trade policies and sudden disruptions. This course will provide a comprehensive analysis of politics and policy making in these contentious food and farming sectors, both at the national and global level. Topics covered will include famine, chronic undernutrition, farm subsidies, food trade, food aid, biofuels, environmentally sustainable farming, links to water and climate change, agribusiness, the global spread of fast food and supermarkets, food safety, organic food, and genetically engineered food.
Tuesdays/Thursdays  11:40am – 1pm, Littauer L130
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