English 189-1 - Fall, 2021

Seminar in Literary Studies

Topic: Feasting, Fasting: The Literature of Food

Class Information

Instructor: Roy, Parama
CRN: 32340
Time: MW 3:10-4:30
Location: 248 Voorhies
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Fasting, Feasting: The Literature of Food

In The Raw and the Cooked, the anthropologist Claude L?vi-Strauss contends that cooking is a language, a system of communication with rules akin to grammar; it gives meaning to the culture from which it emerges and enables us to understand how it functions. In this course on the literature of food, we will look at some of the ways in which food and cooking help to produce cultural meaning. We will study a range of texts?fictional, autobiographical, historical, anthropological, theoretical, ecological, and popular cultural?on the cultural poetics and politics of cooking, eating, hungering for, and refusing food. Our texts will cover diverse historical periods and places, and will range over the following topics: consumption, taste, and enjoyment; permitted and prohibited foods; unorthodox forms of consumption, like vampirism and cannibalism; gluttony, anorexia, bulimia, and addiction; imperial tastes, industrial foods, and the food of slavery; hospitality and feasting; food boycotts, bread riots, and hunger strikes; and the political economies of hunger, famine, and luxury.


Attendance; posts to a weekly discussion forum; one 4-5 page paper; one 7-8 page paper; and one take-home final.


robinson crusoe, ed. michael shinagel, daniel defoe
Dracula, ed. Nina Auerbach & David J. Skal, Bram Stoker
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Eating Animals , Jonathan Safran Foer