Results for: The Invention of Hunger

KNOW 40311: The Invention of Hunger

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Wed 3:00-5:50 PM
  • CHSS 40311, CRES 40311, approved elective for SSAD minor
  • Yan Slobodkin

Hunger is often thought of as an unchanging biological fact, but what it means to be hungry has changed profoundly over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From the pleasure of sweets to the trauma of famine, hunger has influenced some of the most important economic, political, and cultural developments of the modern age. Drawing from a variety of scholarly disciplines, as well as primary readings including novels, scientific texts, and journalism, we will explore how experiences and understandings of hunger were intertwined with race, class, and gender, and played a pivotal role in the development of the slave trade, colonialism, and humanitarian ethics. We will situate famines, hunger strikes, eating disorders, and other ways of thinking about food in their historical and cultural contexts. We will end the course by examining how this history has influenced how we understand the culture and economics of food in our own society. For each class period, students will write a 1-2 page reflection on one or several of the week's readings that they will circulate to the entire class at least 24 hours before seminar. There will be a 15-20 page final paper on the theme of hunger, broadly defined. This paper will incorporate outside secondary works related to students' specific research interests.