Food, Culture & Politics

One man stands near a huge pot while three other men prepare food for cooking.

Food stall on Huimin Jie (Muslim Street), Xi’an, China. (Image courtesy of Heather Paxson.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2019



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course explores connections between what we eat and who we are through cross-cultural study of how personal and collective identities, social relations, and economic inequalities are formed and maintained via practices of food production, preparation, and consumption. Discussions are organized around critical discussion of what makes "good" food good (tasty, healthy, authentic, ethical, etc.), and draw on anthropological studies as well as recent writing and films on the politics of food and agriculture. A primary goal of the course is to provide students with conceptual tools to understand and evaluate food systems at local and global levels. Instruction and practice in written and oral communication is provided.  

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Related Content

Heather Paxson. 21A.155 Food, Culture & Politics. Fall 2019. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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