Food, Culture, and Politics in Asia

Course Number:

ASAN 494
Course Title:Food, Culture, and Politics in Asia
Course Description: This course looks at how Asian foodways have shaped national and global cuisine, and the history and politics behind their preparation and consumption. The course will also tackle the political economy of certain Asian food ingredients and the effort to create “health standards” for food consumption writ large.

Students will also engage in understanding the dichotomy between a world that has the technological capacity to produce tremendous amounts of food, and persistent global poverty and the equally ominous peril of global obesity and ill-health.
Learning Objectives:

  • Familiarize students with the economic, religious, political, and philosophical foundations of Asian cuisines, their ingredients, and how these made impacts on the world beyond Asia

  • Introduce students to the histories of the spread of Asian cuisines and ingredients associated with Asian foodways

  • Examine what happens when Asian foodways interact with local and “national” cuisines

  • Explore what happens when non-Asian cuisines become part of Asian food cultures (e.g. spread of American fast food in Asia)