360°: Food and Communication

This cluster focuses on the idea that food is a medium, a cultural vehicle that transports and is transportable and transportive. We analyze food in relation to: diaspora, community formation, ethnicity and immigration, translation.  The guiding question is whether there can be communication between high cuisine, artisanal production practices and other culinary arts and solving the problems of food insecurity and inequality.  We pursue the notion that conceiving of food culturally is essential to providing food security for all.

Food and Communication Courses:

East Asian Languages and Culture 281: Food in Translation: China to Chinatown, theory and practice

This course, taught by Shiamin Kwa, explores the connections between what we eat and how we define ourselves in the context of global culture. We take Chinese food as a case study, and examine the way that Chinese food moves from its host country to diasporic communities all over the world, using theories of translation as our theoretical and empirical foundation. From analyzing menu and ingredient translations to producing a short film based on interviews, we will consider the relationship between food and communication in a multilingual and multicultural world.

English 207: Eating Empire: Food, Diaspora and Victorian Britain

This class, with Kate Thomas, explores British culinary culture across the long nineteenth century, focusing on how food culture was used in the ordering and Othering of the world and its populations. Our lens is the relationship of food to nineteenth-century colonial and imperial discourse as we analyze how food both traced and guided global networks of power, politics and trade. As we trace the flows of capital and foodstuffs, we also consider the power of resisting food, by studying anti-saccharite abolitionist protests, hunger strikes and food adulteration campaigns.

Spanish 209: Food and Identity in Spain

This course, taught by Rosi Song, considers the relationship between the food we eat and our sense of identity in the context of regional identity politics in Spain. We review the historical tensions as they surface in diverse linguistic and cultural communities and currently challenged by the new wave of immigration to the peninsula. Amid this intersection of different cultures and practices, we will study how each region as turned to its traditional cuisine and local culinary products to strengthen their sense of regional identity while strategizing to communicate this uniqueness beyond the brand of "Spain" to the world.

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Contact Us


Sarah Theobald, 360° Coordinator
Taylor 302 B
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010
Phone: 610-526-5509