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Fall 2021

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    Course Number: R1B Section 7 | CCN: 21703

    Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Depicting Food and Drink in Mediterranean Antiquity

    Jennifer Black

    Tuesday, Thursday: 5:00-6:30pm (Remote)

    OPEN SEATS for all students qualified to take R1B. To enroll, contact the instructor – Jennifer Black – at

    Illustrations of food — sumptuous, simple, half-consumed, or yet to be hunted — have been central to human art for at least forty thousand years. The centrality of food and drink to cultural identity and survival has lent it this enduring and global interest; the art of the ancient Mediterranean is no exception. Genres as disparate as mosaics, paintings, sculptures, and even monumental grave markers all depict food, each deploying their imagery toward radically different ends.

    This course considers the various roles of food and foodways in ancient Greek, Roman, and west-central Asian art. Through a close examination of art images and readings (both primary and secondary), students will develop the skills to analyze, interpret, and contextualize a variety of ancient art forms, all centered around the topic of food and drink. Peer review and in-class collaborative writing exercises are built into the course and designed to address different aspects of the research process. A series of scaffolded writing and research assignments will help students develop critical looking, thinking, reading, and research skills. This rigorous process will culminate in an original research paper of 10-12 pages.

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