CHIC 1913W: Food and Culture: Latinidad Through Food and its Rituals, Economies, and Politics

3 CreditsFreshman SeminarWriting Intensive

There are few things more basic and bonding between humans than making and sharing food together. To offer food and drink is a gesture of hospitality throughout the world. When we cook and eat, we can traverse our family’s generations and migrations through and across regional and national boundaries. By understanding the practices surrounding someone’s food, we can come to understand a great deal about their culture. Indeed, food is often a site of cultural fusion and hybridity, indicating the human ability to share, adapt, and change. Food, cooking, eating, and the rituals surrounding them reflect and are informed by ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, migration, and class. For these reasons, food is an excellent topic through which to explore intersectionality, empowerment, and cultural memory—three major topics in Chicana/o and Latinx studies. This course is a study of food as an integral part of human experience, but particularly the experiences with food across latinidades, social groups of Latin America living in the United States. We study food as a form of cultural expression but also as a mechanism of power and inequality. As such, we examine topics such as the food service industry, farm worker organizing, food insecurity, cultural appropriation, and agri-business and food production). Each of these topics focus our attention on inequality and injustices, such as racism, sexism, hunger, and other difficult subjects. However, these topics also reveal resistance and agency among Latinos and Latinas, as well as Latinx people, the gender neutral term intended to include the wide range of gender identities among people of Latin American heritage living in the U.S. By understanding the labor and politics of the food industry, uneven access to food, and society’s expectations about Latinx cuisines, we come to understand the structural forces that generate notions of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, human migration, and material inequity. Through our sharing of food, recipes, and the stories behind them, particularly the foods prepared for días de los muertos (trans: days of the dead) we will gain understanding of our diverse experiences, looking at our past as well as our present, and the memories and structural conditions that shape our experiences. To deepen our knowledge, we learn from and engage with Latinx urban farmers and come to appreciate the Indigenous Mexican cultural values for the environment and sustainability.

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All Instructors

A- Average (3.556)Most Common: A (44%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

16 students
  • 2.73


  • 4.27


  • 2.93



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