Course Spotlight: Food and Public History

Got Food? Got History? Go Public.

Food and Public History, Spring 2021

In  Food and Public History (4 cr), we will examine interpretive foodways programs from museums, living history museums, folklore/folklife programs, as well as culinary tourism offerings, “historical” food festivals, and food tours. Our goal is to compare different approaches to teaching the public about history or cultural heritage using food. How do we best engage the public? How do we demonstrate the relevance of food as both a historical subject and as a topic of interest today? Through different approaches to public history, can we connect our audience to issues that are so critical today—the future of food movements, for example, or the preservation and understanding of cultural difference? How can we successfully engage the public, whether through displays, tours, or interactive/sensorial experience?

This is a project-based course involving experiential and hands-on learning opportunities. Student will continue to participate in a semester-long group project, entitled Home Cooks in the Merrimack Valley, in which students will interview domestic cooks from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and then incorporate those interviews into an online exhibit.

Hope you will join us!

For more information, contact

Dr. Karen Metheny, Senior Lecturer in the Gastronomy Program, will teach MET ML 623, Food and Public History, on Wednesday evenings in the Spring 2021 semester, beginning on January 27. Registration begins on November 21 and is open to degree candidates in the Gastronomy Program, as well as to non-degree students. Spring classes at Boston University are available to remote students in Boston University’s “Learn from Anywhere” course mode.

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