Seeking to challenge students to think deeply and critically about American art and material culture and their broad socio-cultural implications in the past and present, I developed in 2017 a course that explored the interpretation of foodstuff and American foodways in American art, prints and commercial advertising, and material culture. This article analyzes the pedagogical objectives of the course in its integration of a multi-modal learning approach that reinforced connections between learning, experiencing, and critical interpretation. Capitalizing on the emergence of scholarship in food studies in American art and through other cross-disciplinary readings students analyzed food symbolism, racial and economic stereotyping, depictions of production and labor, the provision and circulation of food stuff, excess or deprivation at various historical moments, and issues of gender, race and social status, as related to food production and consumption. The course privileged depth over coverage, immersed students in interrogations of complex and often fraught ideas, engaged them in object-based learning and required that they apply developed skills in disciplinary research. In its integration of multi-faceted reflective, interactive, embodied experiential learning and a social justice component, a cookbook that included students’ research that was sold as a fundraiser, the course expanded beyond the classroom and connected historical and visual literacy with current ideological concerns.
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Terrono, Evie. 2021. "Food and Cultural Politics: A Culinary Lens into Teaching American Art and Culture." Art History Pedagogy & Practice 6, (1). https://academicworks.cuny.edu/ahpp/vol6/iss1/4