Fall 2015 - HIST 485 D100

Studies in History I (4)

Class Number: 7177

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2015: Mon, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Special topics.


Food and Culture in African History

Food is a culturally constructed and historically grounded concept. From blood-drinking pastoralists to halal-adhering Muslims, Africans have long negotiated their identities through food. Thus, food production and consumption patterns are potent barometers of historical and cultural change. In this class, we will move beyond the image of “Africa in Famine” to examine how historians can use food studies to enrich our knowledge of Africans in the past. Topics will include: African innovations in food production, African contributions to global cuisines and economies, food cultures in the African diaspora, gendered relationships with food, colonial era food economies, feeding the African city, food and religion, and the modern politics of food. This is a reading and research seminar - students will discuss and present readings among their peers. Students will be assessed on in-class participation, an independent research project, and a cuisine project based on a region/country or food. In addition to the texts listed below, students will read primary sources and scholarly articles available online.

Prerequisites - At least one previous African history or African studies course; or permission of the instructor.


  • Participation (including discussion questions) 25%
  • Regional/Thematic Food Post 15%
  • Presentation and leading of class discussion 15%
  • Research Paper (including proposal, presentation) 45%



Akyeampong, E. Drink, Power, and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana, c. 1800 to Recent Times. Heinemann, 1996 

Mintz, Sidney W. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. Penguin, 1986


Osseo-Asare, F. Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Greenwood Press, 2005

Parker, J. and R. Rathbone. African History: A Very Short Introduction. OUP, 2007

Registrar Notes:

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