1. Week 1: Introduction 8 items
    In this week, the module convenor and students will introduce themselves. The convenor will then present an overview of module content, organization and assessment. There are no set readings for this week, but students may wish to look at any of the readings below, which may also serve as resources throughout the term.
    1. Readings 8 items
      1. Food: a culinary history from antiquity to the present - Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Albert Sonnenfeld 1999


      2. Near a thousand tables : a history of food - Felipe Fernández-Armesto 2004


      3. Food in world history - Jeffrey M. Pilcher 2017


      4. A Cultural History of Food (6 volumes) - Fabio Parasecoli, Peter Scholliers 2012


      5. Food history: critical and primary sources - Jeffrey M. Pilcher 2014


  2. Week 2: The 'Agricultural Revolution': Why, and to What Effect? 11 items
    Prior to the ‘agricultural revolution’, humans fed themselves by gathering, hunting and fishing. In this module, we examine how, and why, people domesticated plants, as well as the many consequences of this. Consideration will be given to whether or not the development of agriculture was a uni-linear process. We will also look at the fraught historical relationship between agriculturalists and their ‘others’, from the emergence of agriculture to the present day. Ultimately, we will ask in what ways—as well as for whom—the emergence of agriculture might be considered progressive, and in what ways it might be considered problematic.
    1. Readings 11 items
      1. Last hunters, first farmers: new perspectives on the prehistoric transition to agriculture - Douglas T. Price, Anne Birgitte Gebauer 1995


      2. Guns, germs and steel: the fates of human societies - Jared M. Diamond 2005

        Book  Read Part 2: 'The Rise and Spread of Food Production' pp. 83-191.

      3. Guns, germs and steel: a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years - Jared M. Diamond 1998 (electronic resource)

        Book  Read Chapter Six, “To Farm or Not to Farm,” pp. 104-113

  3. Week 3: The Domestication of Animals, and Pastoralism 6 items
    Consideration will be given to definitions of animal domestication as well as different modes of subsistence involving animals, such as hunting, varying forms of pastoralism and ranching. Most animal domestications for the purpose of food production were undertaken by people who were already cereal agriculturalists. The key indicators of animal domesticity will be discussed alongside a summary of the centres of domestication for the principal domestic species. The concept of the ‘Secondary Products Revolution’ will also be debated, which relates to a shift from using only the resources from the carcass of a slaughtered animal to making use of products that can be harvested from live animals (e.g. milk). Varying modes of mixed farming and pure pastoralism will be discussed. The steppes of Central Asia will be used as a case study region.
    1. Readings 6 items
  4. Week 4: Food in Antiquity 5 items
    The Greeks and Romans were distinguished by their extensive use of writing, literary, political (some inscribed on stone) and technical. This section uses these documents to draw out themes of animal sacrifice, festival and communal feasting; wine; differences between the diets of rich and poor; and luxury living contrasted with healthy living. These social practices and ideas about food were superimposed on a diet that had much in common with modern recommendations to follow a Mediterranean Diet, though without plants that come from the Americas such as tomatoes and some Asian plants such as most citrus fruits. Little meat was eaten outside religious ceremonies.
    1. Readings 5 items
      1. Courtesans & fishcakes: the consuming passions of classical Athens - James N. Davidson 2011

        Book  Older 1997 edition also available in Forum Library.

      2. Food in the ancient world - John Wilkins, Shaun Hill 2006 (electronic resource)

        Book  Read chapters 'Food and Religion' & 'Food in Ancient Thought'

  5. Week 5: The Globalization of Food, 1300-1800 12 items
    The focus of this session is on diet, the origins of foodstuffs and trade in food. This is examined particularly from the perspective of England and Western Europe. An international trade in foodstuffs already existed in the medieval period. Exotic spices such as pepper and cumin were well established as part of the elite diet in medieval Europe, despite their extra-European origins. Nonetheless the great majority of what was consumed had very local origins: meat and grain often produced and consumed within the same community. In the late medieval period and sixteenth century the intra-European trade in food increased, with Mediterranean foodstuffs such as raisons, citrus fruit and olive oil joining wine as foods enjoyed in northern Europe. The impact of the new maritime global trade routes that developed from the late fifteenth century onwards on European diets was slow to develop. However, in the seventeenth century sugar had an increasingly significant impact on ordinary diets, followed by coffee and tea from 1650 onwards. We will discuss the difficulties of documenting ordinary diets, along with food as an impetus for international trade, and ways in which new foodstuffs were (or were not) adopted.
    1. Readings 12 items
      1. Civilization and capitalism, 15th-18th century: Vol. 1: The structures of everyday life ; the limits of the possible - Fernand Braudel 1992

        Book  Read chapters 2 & 3, 'Daily Bread' & 'Superfluity and Sufficiency: Food and Drink'

      2. Pastoral economies in classical antiquity - C.R. Whittaker 1988

        Book  Read Part 2 'Provisions and Provisioning'.

      3. Sugar and Slavery: an economic history of the British West Indies 1623-1775 - Richard B. Sheridan, University of the West Indies. Department of History 1974


      4. Food in early modern England: phases, fads, fashions, 1500-1760 - Joan Thirsk 2009

        Book  Especially chapters 1, 3, 6, 8 & 9.

      5. Consumption and Gender in the Early Seventeenth-Century Household - Jane Whittle, Elizabeth Griffiths 22/03/2012

        Book  Read pp.72-105.

      6. Food in medieval England: diet and nutrition - C. M. Woolgar, T. Waldron, D. Serjeantson 2009 (electronic resource)


  6. Week 6: Food Markets, Food Riots & 'Moral Economy' 16 items
    This seminar focuses on one of the key debates about the organisation of markets and food supply during the ‘transition to capitalism’ in early modern England. This is the debate begun by E.P. Thompson’s idea of the ‘moral economy’ – the assertion of popular ‘needs-based’ food entitlements during crises, in the face of growing official acceptance of the supremacy of market-based food provision. The readings set this debate (between Thompson, Stevenson, Booth, Thwaites, Walter and Bohstedt, among others) in the context of other reading which details the development of market integration and transport links in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
    1. Readings 16 items
      1. Internal trade in England, 1500-1700 - J. A. Chartres 1977


  7. Week 7: Cultures of cooking and dining in the early modern period 10 items
    The meaning of food lies not just in what you eat and drink, but how it is consumed. In this session we will look at cultures of cooking by drawing evidence from recipe books and the material culture of cooking. We will examine the etiquette of formal dining, via the history of manner but also via the study of material culture of dining, and consider the timing and organisation of feasting. But much food, and especially drink, was not consumed in a formal setting. By the late seventeenth century coffee and tea had joined the well-established consumption of beer, as drinks that accompanied or provoked very different forms of social interaction in different social settings. By examining a range of different forms of historical food consumption, and how these changed over time, we offer an alternative perspective on modern practices.
    1. Readings 10 items
      1. The birth of the English kitchen, 1600-1850 - Sara Pennell 2016 (electronic resource)

        Book  Read chapters 4-6 especially.

      2. Consumption and the making of respectability, 1600-1800 - Woodruff D. Smith 2002 (electronic resource)

        Book  On sugar, tea and coffee, chapters 3-6.

      3. Consumption and Gender in the Early Seventeenth-Century Household - Jane Whittle, Elizabeth Griffiths 22/03/2012

        Book  Read pp. 97-105.

  8. Week 8: Devon Food History 5 items
    Devon, a county well known for its food and agricultural traditions is utilised as a case study in this module to investigate the evolving relationships between food, place, people, and landscape. The heritage, and legacy of regional culinary differentiation, re-localisation, and foodways will be presented using examples of clotted cream, herrings, food festivals, and food souvenirs. A visual, and written account of food will consider its production, and consumption, in both the commercial and domestic domains. Tracing its origins from the rural diet as recorded by early visitors, a burgeoning tourist market in the eighteenth century, to its current promotion as a food producing county, and destination, Devon offers an enduring, and rich food history.
    1. Readings 5 items
      1. British rural life and labour - Francis G. Heath 1911

        Book  Read pp.181-186 especially.

  9. Week 9: The industrialization of agriculture: technological and social dimensions 4 items
    Changing agricultural technologies—from the plough, to the tractor, to the hybrid seeds of the “green revolution”—have dramatically transformed agriculture in recent centuries, and especially in recent decades. But the industrialization of agriculture also has significant social dimensions. In this module, we examine agricultural industrialization historically, focusing on related changes in the ownership of property, the organization of labour, and the meaning of farming. Through the identification of recurring themes, we also interrogate notions of uni-linear progress often associated with the “development” of agriculture.
    1. Readings 4 items
  10. Week 10: The Dust Bowl: An agro-ecological disaster seen through oral history, photography, song, literature, and film 10 items
    In this week, we will look at the Dust Bowl, one of the greatest man-made ecological disasters in human history. We will examine the causes of the dust bowl—from the role of government and the banks in promoting regional development through resettlement and farming, to the plowing of fragile prairie lands to plant grains for booming markets, to drought—as well as its consequences—from environmental degradation and collapse, to famine, hunger, and social disintegration, to exodus and the exploitation of dust bowl refugees in other parts of the United States. The lecturer will give a presentation, drawing upon oral histories and accounts of the Dust Bowl in a range of media including photography, song, literature and film.
    1. Readings 10 items
      1. The Dust Bowl: men, dirt, and depression - Mathew Paul Bonnifield c1979

        Book  Read chapter 3

      2. Surviving the Great American Dust Bowl - Timothy Egan 2006


      3. The dust bowl: a film by Ken Burns - Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan, Julie Dunfey, Craig Mellish 2012

        Audio-visual document 

      4. The Dust Bowl: an illustrated history - Dayton Duncan 2012 (electronic resource)


      5. An American exodus: a record of human erosion in the thirties - Dorothea Lange, Paul S. Taylor, Oakland Museum 1969


      6. Whose names are unknown: a novel - Sanora Babb, ProQuest (Firm) c2004 (electronic resource)


      7. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 2017


      8. The grapes of wrath - John Ford, Henry Fonda 2004 (dvd recording)

        Audio-visual document 

      9. Dust bowl ballads - Woody Guthrie 1988

        Audio document 

      10. Library of Congress recordings - Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax n.d (sound recording)

        Audio document 

  11. Week 11: Food safety through time: from omnivore anxieties to the politics of regulation 7 items
    As omnivores who consume foods of vastly different types and origins, human beings are also particularly anxious about what they eat. Whereas some argue that, over time, humans have devised ways to insure the greater safety of the foods they eat, others argue that an ever-more complex global food system presents unprecedented hazards. This week, we examine how social and technological changes relate to changing food-related hazards and anxieties, as well as to their mitigation. What have been the defining logics and social dynamics of everyday practices and of food safety regimes emerging in the modern period? Where has responsibility for the safety of the food supply been located in various historical periods—with food makers/vendors, with government, with consumers? Who has assessed risk and the consumers’ right to know, and has policy—and practice—been based on science, or sentiments such as ‘dread’ and ‘outrage’? And what has been the implications of a focus on consumer food safety for the health and well-being of those growing and processing food.
    1. Readings 7 items
      1. Safe food: the politics of food safety - Marion Nestle ©2010

        Book  Especially Chapter 1.

  12. Week 12: Nutrition transition: diets and modernity around the world 7 items
    Recent decades have seen an increase in body mass among populations around the world. In this week, we will look at changing diets and the rise in obesity. We will look at the importance of changing technologies in food manufacture; transformations in work, the structure of the family, and the built environment; and the emergence of new ways of marketing foods. We will closely examine the idea of ‘nutrition transition’, including, especially, its significance for people in emerging economies.
    1. Readings 7 items
All rights reserved ©