Food Studies aims to help readers understand and address numerous issues within food, food culture, and food systems. These subjects transcend disciplinary boundaries and call attention to how matter, meaning, and movement produce complex and dynamic food-human realities. Chapters range from sovereignty to breastfeeding, financialization to food porn, pollination to fair trade. Embedded throughout, art, poetry, illustration, and audiovisual works offer moments to reflect on and synthesize the text-based entries. Through reading, classroom discussion, and engaging with the extensive pedagogical tools, learners and teachers alike may acquire a new sense of things foodish—along with a new sense of their own place and role within food systems themselves.
What is food? A thing we eat, a creator of cultures, an all-encompassing system? An object, a process, a way of understanding ourselves? A focus of transdisciplinary practice and study? A subject through which to reimagine ‘study’ and ‘practice’ altogether?
This book aims to help students address these and other questions, providing perspectives and insights about numerous themes, while also opening up possibilities for ongoing exploration. It is also intended as a pedagogical tool with which to probe and transcend disciplinary boundaries, so that the stuff and significance of food itself might become starting points for learning and conducting research.
The three Ms in the book’s subtitle—matter, meaning, movement—are a way of underscoring food’s pluralist nature. It is evidently stuff that we eat, but it is equally stuff that we use to symbolize other parts of human existence—as well as stuff that we load with discourse and ideas. Moreover, as evidenced by the ways in which we transport edible things around the globe, process and transform them, and insert them into contexts from finance to fashion, food moves.
As you use this book, perhaps a transformed sense of food, food culture, and food systems will emerge—along with a new sense of your own place and role within them. Perhaps a particular method or practice from one of the chapters will resonate with a poem or illustration, helping to illuminate a scrap of theory you have struggled to apprehend. Perhaps a perception of how agriculture and economics and identity are linked will start to form in your consciousness, motivating you to take part in activism or art-making. Perhaps you will be inspired to draft a contribution to the second, third, or multi-volume edition of this book, and you will become a future editor of Food Studies, or a teacher of new learners. And then, together, perhaps we will all acquire an understanding of food that becomes, over time, as lively, intersubjective, and complex as this wonderful subject itself.
Word Count: 162816
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