Ice Cream Social Justice: “Critical Food Studies” Comes to College


Higher education tuition costs and student loan debt have increased proportionally with the sheer worthlessness of a college education. Students were paradoxically far more likely to learn something worthwhile when higher ed was for dilettantes, than now when it’s a mandatory job prerequisite.

The largest fantastic blend of worthless content and leftist politics is “Critical Food Studies”. (Via Maggie’s Farm)

A surprising number of universities have gone in this direction. The New School has an undergraduate program in food studies, while several offer master’s level programs: Chatham University, New York University, Boston University (a graduate certificate); and New Mexico State University (a graduate-level minor).

Food studies concerns do go beyond food, Professor White acknowledged in an interview in an Atlanta alternative weekly newspaper that ranged into the areas of Southern culture, racism, and Paula Deen. The study of popular culture figures and racism, of course, have long been edging out the traditional subjects on our campuses.

You can find the mania over food studies in many states, including North Carolina. At UNC-Chapel Hill, students in the Department of Geography can take “Critical Food Studies,” and others can develop interdisciplinary programs that incorporate courses such as “Food in American Culture” provided through the department of American Studies.

The effort for a food studies minor began with nine faculty members applying for and receiving a Mellon grant, White told me. After expected approval at the April curriculum committee meeting, courses should be available in the fall semester in several departments, including economics. A biologist and Chinese language expert will jointly offer a course that explores the development of Chinese cuisine, and the role of lactose intolerance. In the English department a course will investigate food imagery in Toni Morrison’s novels.

Political correctness, food and pointless American Studies navel gazing… in one course. Somehow I’m entirely confident that the discussion will be largely about white ‘othering’ of African-American foods.

This is what you’re paying $40k for. What used to be the topic of a particularly desperate English paper is now a course.

Food studies has made its way even down to freshman composition.  Apparently responding to market demand, the textbook publisher Bedford is offering Food Matters with a sample syllabus and recommended “resources” for an entire semester devoted to food studies.

Why not an entire university that turns Liberal Arts into a food centric academic setting?

…as indicated by such chapters as “Eating Authentically” and “The Culinary Other.” They state that “foodies” can appreciate the “peasant cook,” the street vendor, and the master chef. Food studies have become part of the agenda of social justice and multiculturalism, which have come to infiltrate much of the humanities.

The culinary other. This is what leftist intellectualism has come down to. It can’t even be described as pathetic.

There is not much “contesting” among the essays in the book, however.  All seem to harp on  political themes relating to food: “Doberge Cake after Katrina,” by Amy Cyrex Sins, and “Equality for Animals,” by Peter Singer, Princeton bioethics professor. Bedford also includes an excerpt from Michelle Obama’s book, American Grown: The Story of One White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid and Food Plate Nutrition Guidelines.

Will there be any Denny’s place mats to study? We could do a whole semester on the semiotics of menus, what they state and what they leave out and how they other.

And, finally, the Food Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association will hold several panels at its meeting, mostly on political topics, like “Food, Debt, and the Anti-Capitalist Imagination” and “How the Other Half Eats: Race and Food Reform from the Slaughterhouse to the White House.”

The American Studies Association, recently familiar from their illegal boycott of Israel, has been a major player in trashing academia and replacing already dubious subjects with complete garbage.

Other topics from the ASA’s Food Studies Caucus are…

The Good, The Bad, The Unforgivable: Black Women’s Food Work as Spaces of Dissent and Strategic Acquiescence

Pedagogies of Food and Eating: Teaching Debt, Dissent, and Identity through Food

Archives of Domesticity and Dissent: Cookbooks, Cooking Culture, and the Limits of Culinary Exchange

And then there’s a journal and even a caucus meeting.

Food Studies Caucus Annual Reception/networking event.  At such an event scholars of food will be able to meet other scholars doing similar work. I envision this being a more low key event, with perhaps some light food and an open/cash bar. (If we need to raise funding for such an event we could possibly require preregistration and charge a small fee per person, say $10 to cover the cost of food).

But… what are the politics of a cash bar? Has he considered how he is othering heavy food?

  • Blanch le Touch

    Of course, all food studies end in feces.

    • De Doc

      i was trying to come up with a witty & insightful reply to the article, but I can’t beat your succinct opinion on the matter.

    • Geoffrey_Britain

      Thread winner!

      Its all caca in the end…

  • DogmaelJones1

    Your catalogue of food studies in universities and colleges probably overlooked these delectable courses: “Gobble. Gobble: The Role of Food Vendors in Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.” “Sushi Skills under the Sun King.” “The Role of Consumables in ‘Tale of Two Cities.'” “Chop! Chop! The Benihana Phenomenon in American Cuisine.” “Privileged Plates: Eating the Rich in Exclusive Clubs. How White Privilege Discriminates Against the Tasteless in American Culture.” “What Custer and Sitting Bull had for Lunch Before Little Big Horn.” And so forth.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Every single one of those courses could be real, except that they would probably focus on minority authors rather than Shakespeare or Dickens

      • DogmaelJones1

        All right, if you must: How about “Alice Walker: Culinary Subtexts in The Color Purple,” and “Toni Morrison: The White Whipped Cream Beneath Black Patronage.” For extra credit, write a paper on “Langston Hughes: A Kommie in the Kitchen, Learnin’ the White Folks’ Ways of Cookin'”

        • Daniel Greenfield

          If you ever have to fall back on academia, you could get a job on the strength of those titles

          • DogmaelJones1

            Parody is my profession (partly). But I bet if I submitted a grant proposal to the Guggenheim or the NEH for any of those titles, they wouldn’t know that I was funnin’ them.

    • laura r

      interesting to note: exclusive restaurants can often serve indigestable food. the chef is the star, he is creative & visual. often the combinations are sickening. it may look beautiful on the plate. it may take unknowns 6 months to get a reservation, it may cost $500 usd (for 2) w/out drinks tip. what the chef does not know is that you cant always mix cuisines. the quality of the food is superb, the execution is horrendous. any sensible grandma would know better. i dont want to sound like a hippy, or an artisan snob, but plain peasent is 1000 x’s healthier.

  • Libslayer

    The people who push this nonsense actually believe it themselves.
    Liberalism is vapid in so many ways.

  • Clare Spark

    I hate to disagree with DG on anything, but nutrition is hard science. It is part of what everyone should know to maximize health and spare old age from many of its infirmities. As to whether or not Toni Morrison offers sound advice, I am silent.

    • Larry Larkin

      These aren’t nutrition courses, there isn’t a whiff of science about any of them. These are right up there with women’s studies and advanced basket weaving as complete waftams.

    • laura r

      agree. but skip the soul food.

  • Elise

    No wonder Americans, especially young Americans are fat, they have no common sense or will power. As usual the Registered Dietitians are hiding in their white coats rather than taking a stand for their profession.

  • wileyvet

    An entire semester could be dedicated to ” The Overt Racism of White Bread in Society” and the microaggressions of Pop’n Fresh.

    • laura r

      they can take it a step futher. what was the menu in biggy smalls restaurant called “big poppa”? (it didnt open, he was shot). we can go from there, the possibilities are endless. i can write up many proposals.

  • UCSPanther

    I would consider a cooking course (AKA how to be a professional chef, while learning everything from preparation/cooking techniques to food safety) to be millions of times more valuable than this tripe.

  • The March Hare

    “The effort for a food studies minor began with nine faculty members applying for and receiving a Mellon grant”

    Well, of course! What else but food would you study after being granted all those mellons.

    If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If the foundation grants you mellons…

    Just food for thought.

  • Tina Trent

    The food studies article was written by the indomitable Dissident Prof and frequent Frontpage contributor Mary Grabar, who toiled as an underpaid adjunct for 20 years in higher education until her non-leftist political views outside the classroom got her booted.

    The way she was treated proves one foodie thesis: learning in the humanities is now toast.

  • laura r

    what about just good old fashioned cooking classes? then interesting facts while learning. why do academics make something so simple into something so complicated & political. i still didnt understand most of the things they said.