Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Food Writing Art Historically
Tuesday | Thursday: 5:00 - 6:30pm
Can food be art historical? Claims of food’s homeliness, perishability, and immediate use-value place food outside the traditional domain of art. However, specific forms of food are distinguishable according to their appearances in space and time. Some of the methods of art history thus appear ideally applicable to the experience of food. Students will determine the relationship between art history and food for themselves through a series of case studies, including the feminized voluptuousness of bowls of rice in contemporary Senegal and 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 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), and others.