IIT Madras

IIT Madras introduces first of its kind course on ‘Food Cultures’

The elective course ‘Food Cultures’ will be available to the UG students at IIT Madras and will be focused on the universally relatable areas of food studies

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) will introduce an elective course titled ‘Food Cultures’ – An anthropological study of food that includes economy, materiality, +-distinction, inequality, gender, status. 

The academic year for the course will be from 2021-22. Only 40 students are to be admitted for this course in the initial year. 

The objective of the course is to widen the anthropology of optional courses at IIT Madras to bring interdisciplinarity by offering this specialized course which will be available to the UG students in all the 16 departments of IIT Madras.

Commenting on the relevance of ‘Food Cultures’ elective to engineering students, course coordinator Mathangi Krishnamurthy, associate professor of Anthropology, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras, said, “ Students at IIT Madras have shown keen interest and active engagement in courses on culture, society and language. Food Cultures takes a cue from this and offers a specialized look at a universal area of interest, food.”

“Students need to understand where the food comes from, who grows it, who sells, who  cuts, cleans, and cooks, and how the loss of taste and smell have become markers of this entire pandemic.”

There are ten modules of the course intending to cover the  aspects of food cultures, it explores the thought of what it means to think about culture as food and food as culture:

1.Food and the anthropology of food: A brief history

2.The Tasting of Food: Meditations on the physical, chemical, and neurophysiological bases of taste

3.Food and labor

4.Nutritionism and society

5.The Food Industry

6.Food communication, consumption, and entertainment

7.Food and gender

8.Food as a symbol

9.Food, memory, and writing

10.Field-visit and project

The course is aimed at benefiting the students as it focuses on deepening analytical skills vis-à-vis culture, understanding functions of the society, application of the social sciences, the relevance of humanities and social sciences, and better writing skills.

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