GE 2074
Philosophical Perspectives:
Food and Culture


This page represents my first stab at locating useful material available on the web. It will grow as I work on the class, and I welcome student input. At the moment the categories are broad, but I hope useful.

Academic articles

This is a small sampling of what's available through Ai databases.

Clapp, Jennifer. “The Global Food Crisis and International Agricultural Policy: Which Way Forward?” Global Governance 15 (2009): 299-312.  EBSCO. Web.
Nazaryan, Alexander. “Eating Our Words.” Newsweek Global 161.40 (2013):1-4. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Super, John C. “Review Essay: Food and History.” Journal of Social History 36:1 (Fall 2002): 165-178. EBSCO. Web.

Twiss, Katheryn. “The Archaeology of Food and Social Diversity.” Journal of Archaeological Research 20.4 (December 2012):357-395. EBSCO. Web.

Zhang, Peter. “Food As A Social Medium and a Medium of Culture.” ETC: A Review of General Semantics. 70.2 (April 2013):174-177.  EBSCO. Web.

Be careful about search terms! Typing in "food and culture" will load your results with articles about fungus and such. Try "food and anthropology" or "food and politics" or "food and history"--although these may also produce very broad results.


Over the last few years, academic studies of food have sprouted up (sorry) in many major universities. Here are a few; try looking at their course descriptions and readings for project and group presentation topics.

Philosophy of Food Project. University of North Texas. (Not a course per se, but it promises to become a clearing house for related courses)

Food for Discourse and Thought: The Anthropology of Food and Communication. University of Texas. (Anthropology 393, Spring 2014) The course outline offers several different perspectives on food and culture and a helpful bibliography.

University of Notre Dame: Are We Eating Good Food? This course takes more specific direction, but has some helpful material. See especially the "Tips on getting the most out of a seminar" for ideas on how to maximize your understanding and enjoyment of this class.

Rutgers University:  Eating Right: The Ethics of Food Choices and Food Policy. The introductory video provides a nifty introduction to doing philosophy in general, and considering philosophical issues connected with food consumption more specifically. Otherwise there's only a course description, but it poses some of the questions we can consider.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Teaching the Food System. This is a program designed to teach teachers how to teach about our food-producing system. Go to the "Explore the Curriculum" button for terrific materials on several topics. I've linked the background reading on the History of Food to week 1 on the Schedule.

TED Talks

If you haven't yet been initiated into the wonder that is TED, now's the time to get started. High-quality, short (~20 min.) talks by stellar presenters on interesting topics--it doesn't get much better than this. I've linked one of the curated playlists below (click on it to get to the individual talks). You might also learn a thing or two about engaging presentation techniques.

What's Wrong with What We Eat?

Mark Bittman: “What’s wrong with what we eat?”
Ann Cooper: “What’s wrong with school lunches?”
Louise Fresco: “”We need to feed the whole world”
Graham Hill: “Why I’m a weekday vegetarian”
Jamie Oliver: Teach every child about food”
Dean Ornish: The killer American diet that’s sweeping the planet
Jackie Savitz: Save the oceans, feed the world
Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal
Sustainable Seafood?  Let’s get smart

Another food-related playlist: Talks for Foodies,

Coming soon: more video sources.

Online Journals

There are several available, although access to articles may be limited to subscribers. I’ll list them as I come across them.

Digest: A Journal of Foodways and Culture
This is the journal of the American Folklore Society; see the archive for more articles.

ASFS: Association for the Study of Food and Society
The journal (Food, Culture, and Society) itself isn’t online, but there’s a Food Studies Links list with journals, some of which may be indexed through Ai or South.

Food-related Blogs

Food Politics (Marion Nestle)
Her most recent book, What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating focuses on making sensible food choices.

The Food Ethics Blog
This is an occasional blog about ethical issues that arise in growing, shipping, processing, selling, regulating, and eating food. Chris MacDonald, Ryerson University management program (Ph.D. in philosophy).:

The Silk Road Gourmet
Recipes based on historical food from countries along the Silk Road.

last update: 07.08.14