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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: SOCI315 Course ID: 3753 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course is a theoretical and empirical exploration of human food choices from an ecological, political and sociological perspective. Students will examine food taboos and cravings, with their social, ideological and biological sources. The course is designed to discuss the socio-cultural dimensions of food production, preparation and consumption to include dimensions of individual, family, community and societal structures, as well as ideological, religious and cultural identities embodied in gender, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Choices of pets, insects and people as food choices are considered in their socio-cultural contexts. Social issues include the 21st century locavore and organic movements, community food production, malnutrition and hunger.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
10/26/20 - 04/02/21 04/05/21 - 05/30/21 Spring 2021 Session B 8 Week session
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session
12/28/20 - 06/04/21 06/07/21 - 08/01/21 Spring 2021 Session D 8 Week session
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
02/22/21 - 07/30/21 08/02/21 - 09/26/21 Summer 2021 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After you have completed this course, you will be able to:
CO1: Compare and contrast a wide diversity of foodways, cross-culturally.
CO2: Examine various theories used to explain different cross-cultural food customs
CO3: Summarize the importance of meat eating in various cultures
CO4: Compare and contrast cross-cultural perspectives and uses of milk
CO5: Differentiate the meaning various foods play in the cultural traditions and beliefs of peoples world-wide
CO6: Analyze a variety of religious, economic, medical and ecological reasons for the various different foods people choose to consume


Participation in classroom dialogue on threaded Discussions is required some weeks of class. Initial Discussion posts are due Thursdays, peer responses are due Sundays. Instructions and specific grading rubrics are found under the Discussions tab in our classroom.

This course includes Assignments. Instructions and specific grading rubrics are found under the Assignments tab in our classroom.

This course includes Exams. Instructions are found under the Quizzes tab in our classroom.

Extra Credit:

Extra credit is not offered in this course.

Required Readings for Entire Course Listed by Week:

Week 1 Required Readings:

William R. Leonard, The global diversity of eating patterns: Human nutritional health in comparative perspective (2014).

Paul Rozin, The Meaning of Food in Our Lives: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Eating and Well-Being (2005).

Karen L Kraner, The cooperative economy of food: Implications for human life history and physiology (2018).

Week 2 Required Readings

Thomas Getty, A kind man benefits himself--But how? Evolutionary models of human food sharing (2019)

Wulf Schiefenh vel. On the human ethology of food sharing (2019)

Claude Fischler. Commensality, society and culture (2019)

Giada Danesi. A cross-cultural approach to eating together: Practices of commensality among French, German and Spanish young adults Library (2019)

Michael Gurven To give and to give not: The behavioral ecology of human food transfers (2004)

Week 3 Required Readings:

Anne Vallely Food and Religion (2019)

Gillian Feeley-Harnik, Religion and Food: An Anthropological Perspective Library (JSTOR). 29 Jul. 2019. Article.

Week 4 Required Readings:

Amy Hillier, The social dynamics of healthy food shopping and store choice in an urban environment (2014)

Kim Mooney and Erica Lorenz, The Effects of Food on Interpersonal Perceptions (1997)

Katherina Vester, A Taste of Power: Food and American Identities Read the Introduction (2015)

Week 5 Required Readings:

Shirley Lindenbaum, Thinking About Cannibalism (2004)

Richard Sugg, Corpse medicine: mummies, cannibals, and vampires (2008)

Philip McCouat, The Life and Death of Mummy Brown (2019)

Article: CBC Docs, Bugs on the Menu (2019)

Lauren Corman, Getting Their Hands Dirty: Raccoons, Freegans, and Urban Trash (2011)

Week 6 Required Readings:

Aruna Thaker and Arlene Barton, Multicultural Handbook of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics (2012)

*Read: Introduction, Chapters 8, and 9.

Week 7 Required Readings:

Mari Gallagher, American Nutrition Association on Food Deserts (2011)

Emily M. Broad Lieb, All (Food) Politics is Local: Increasing Food Access through Local Government Action (2013)

Bruce Pietrykowski, You Are What You Eat: The Social Economy of the Slow Food Movement (2004)

Week 8 Required Readings:

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Japanese Food in Holland: The Global Trend Spreads

Sakamoto, R., & Allen, M. There’s Something Fishy About That Sushi: how Japan interprets the global sushi boom (2011)

Theodore C. Bestor, How Sushi Went Global (2000)

An Pan et al, Exporting Diabetes to Asia: The Impact of Western-Style Fast Food

Judit Bodnar, Roquefort vs Big Mac: Globalization and Its Others

Jeffrey Ayres and Michaol J. Bosia, Beyond Global Summitry: Food Sovereignty as Localized Resistance to Globalization (2011)

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.