Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Food Writing Art Historically
Monday | Wednesday: 12:30 - 2:00pm
Can food be art historical? Claims of its homeliness, perishability, and immediate use-value seem to place food outside the traditional domain of art. However, unique forms of food can certainly be identified with specific places and times. Might certain methods of art history thus be applied to the experience of food? Students will determine the relationship between art history and food for themselves through a series of case studies and their own research, potentially including examples such as the feminized voluptuousness of bowls of rice in contemporary Senegal or the ritualized facture and destruction of butter sculptures in Central Asia.
To facilitate a more systematic investigation of food’s possible art history, this class will work to improve relevant reading and writing skills. Students will practice close, critical analyses of diverse texts related to food; learn to build ideas based on visual and other sensorially-based evidence; write extensively on the topic of food; and combine these skills to compose a 10–12 page scholarly research paper at the end of the semester. The class will engage with texts by writers such as Lù Yǔ (733–804), Dōgen (1200–1253), Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968), Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (1908–1992), Jonathan Gold (1960–2018), and others.