Comparative Eurasian Foodways: Immigrant Experiences
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How do immigrant foodways both reflect and transform the "original" or non-immigrant cultures, identities, geographies, and tastes that preceded them? What and who determines the authenticity of a recipe or a cuisine? This "immigrant" variation on the program Comparative Eurasian Foodways (CEF): A Cultural, Agricultural, and Gastronomic Odyssey invites live-time engagement with the ways in which what food communicates to whom , including when and where it is experienced, can both separate and unite us. Our goal is to understand why we eat what we eat in relation to the major historical, cultural and geographic influences on Eurasian--and immigrants'--agriculture, diet, and cuisines.
We'll meet all together for the first three weeks of spring quarter to explore questions like:Did Italy or China create pasta? Why are Greek Islands known for their human longevity? How did salt springs and marshes contribute to the development of parmesan cheese, prosciutto and dried plums ( hua mei )? Using a case study approach to compare Chinese, Greek, Italian and immigrant cuisines, we’ll explore how the environment and cultural histories inform what and how we eat today. While what can be grown with respect to tropical, temperate or Mediterranean climates is a constraint on agricultural ranges of crops, the histories of migration, warfare, and religion can be even greater influences on identity, diet, and foodways.
Then, rather than travel to Greece and Italy, we'll spend two weeks studying the burgeoning field of immigrant foodways and designing individual projects for three weeks of independent research. During the independent or small group research period--which can include field research to experience first-hand immigrant experiences of particular foodways--students will maintain academic journals that synthesize on-campus learning with research and field experiences to result in individual or small group ePortfolios. Both CEF programs will reconvene on campus for the final two weeks of spring quarter during which students will compare their research and field experiences in relation to the program’s generative questions, continue to work on their research projects, and share their learning in final presentations.
Note: Two programs offered during the fall quarter--Eating in Translation and Farm to Table--provide preparation for both versions of Comparative Eurasian Foodwaysin winter and spring. Students who find themselves unable to travel to China in Winter quarter ofComparative Eurasian Foodwayswill continue their study of foodways on campus. Students who are unable to travel to Greece and Italy in spring can enroll inComparative Eurasian Foodways: Immigrant Experiencesfor exploration of migration on foodways. ( The China study abroad will be in collaboration with the students and faculty in the EWS program,Arts, Culture, and Spirit on Silk Roads)
This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:
Cultural studies, education, social sciences, international studies, food and agriculture.
Credits per quarter
- Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
$50 fee for field trip to Seattle
Class Size: 25
25% Reserved for Freshmen
Scheduled for: Day
Final schedule and room assignments:
First meeting:Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 9:00 am
Located in: Olympia