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HONR 5701.11—The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization
Course Creator and Lecturer: José Andrés
Course Manager: Paula Cuello
Office Hours: By appointment
This course, created by internationally renowned chef Jose Andrés, surveys the many interfaces of food and society. Mr. Andrés, serving as Special Advisor to The President of The George Washington University on Food Initiatives, focused his creative spirit to structure the topics and the guest lecturers who will broaden the minds and expand the experiences of students who choose to participate with vigor in this initial exploration of an exciting interdisciplinary topic.
In What the Best College Teachers Do, Ken Bain suggests that the opportunities for learning should be presented as “an invitation to a feast.” In this course, we invite you to think deeply about food in its many different roles, e.g., as a critical factor in public health, as an industry, as a science, as the medium of the craft of cooking, and as a political instrument. By the end of the course, you should be able to articulate, both verbally and in writing, how food and its multiple connections with everyday life, as well as with national and international affairs of state, have helped shape civilization. You should also be able to look forward and give advice on the importance of food to the future of a global community with a growing population on a planet with limited resources.
How will you realize this learning? In addition to interactions with your fellow classmates, with various GW faculty, guest speakers, and Chef Andrés (who will be participating in several lessons himself), half the course grade derives from a group project to present food or a food issue in a creative way. This report should be video-recorded with approximately equal presentation time by each team member.
The remaining half of the grade will be determined by your performance on three assignments that you choose from a portfolio of a dozen that correspond to each week’s topic. To ensure an even distribution of work throughout the assignments, the number of students who can select any given assignment is limited. Two of the three assignments are completed as individuals, and third by a group of students numbering no more than four.
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
- Identify the importance of food in many different spheres of modern civilization.
- Compare similar views and contrast divergent views of food’s role in history.
- Articulate, both verbally and in writing, how food and its multiple connections with everyday life, as well as with national and international affairs of state, have helped shape civilization.
- Analyze and give advice on the importance of food to the future of a global community with a growing population on a planet with limited resources.
- Create and execute an action plan to address a food related issue.
Text & Materials
- Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality, by Danny Meyer, HarpersCollins.
- On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, by Harold McGee, Scribner.
- Food: The Key Concepts, by Warren Belasco. Berg Publishers.
Final Project (50% of Grade)
Consider all of the topics addressed in this course, select an issue, form a group of six, and create an action plan to address the issue. Document your project in video format. Post your video on YouTube. Outside of the instructor grading the assignment, the class will be asked to vote on YouTube submissions, and the top five will present on the final day of class for prizes selected by José Andrés. José Andrés and a panel of selected chefs will judge this project.
Portfolio of Class Assignments (40% of Grade)
From a list of twelve assignments, choose three assignments to complete during the semester. One of the three assignments needs to be a group assignment. Each assignment is limited in how many students can choose to participate. You should have check-ins along the way.
Weekly Quizzes (10% of Grade)