Reading While Grilling

I’m not sure I’d recommend it (Safety First!), but, no matter when you read it, this one will give you some interesting things to think about if you’re cooking today.

I teach a class on the philosophy and politics of food. Taking off from the dictum “You are what you eat,” the class examines how our relationship to food—mediated by politics, economics, ethics, and aesthetics—influences who we are as a species and as individuals. We examine what it means to cultivate and digest other living things and how that experience of conquest helps form ideas about identity and power.

Given that food is implicated in those relations of power regardless of what one eats, a primary aim of the class is to get students to think about why we tend to talk about food as an issue of individual choice. In an age in which politics and consumerism are often conflated with exhortations to “vote with your dollar,” the class strives to develop a vocabulary for food politics that is not reducible to consumer choice.

I’m sure I’ll think about it at some point as my big ol’ dry rubbed pork shoulder smokes over hickory and oak. Happy Labor Day!

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