Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Food Writing Art Historically
Monday, Wednesday: 5:00-6:30pm
Can food be art historical? Does being perishable, consumable, and all too familiar mean something is outside the canonical domains of art? Certainly, some forms of food can be identified with very specific people, places, and historical moments. Might the methods of art history thus be applied to the experience of food? Students will determine for themselves the relationship between art history and food 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 destruction of butter effigies 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 other