Adventures in Food Studies, Part 3

As an academic institute of the University of Mississippi, the Southern Foodways Alliance is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of food scholars. We sent Nathalie Dupree Graduate Fellows Abigail Huggins and Victoria De Leone on a mission to track down the nation’s top food studies programs. This week, Victoria highlights interdisciplinary programs.

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Food Studies: Interdisciplinary Programs

There are about as many different ways to look at food and food systems as there are eaters. An interdisciplinary approach allows prospective students to explore many different lenses then hone in on their particular interests.

School: University of North Carolina

Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Degrees Available: BA or BS in Food Studies; Food studies concentrations for M.A. in Folklore, M.A. or Ph.D. in Southern Studies and American Indian Studies, American Studies, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and Anthropology.
Description: UNC students may major/minor in food studies (a BA or BS) through the Interdisciplinary Studies Department. Undergraduate food study courses are offered at UNC within numerous departments such as Anthropology, American Studies, English/CompLit, Geography, the Honors Program, Nutrition, Law, and Public Policy. Undergraduate students interested in becoming a food studies major should contact Interdisciplinary Studies with a preliminary proposal for their plan of study. Upon approval, each student will select a faculty sponsor with whom they will work while completing requirements for their food studies degree.

Graduate students at UNC are working on exciting food-related research across campus, including programs such as the Folklore MA and doctoral work in Southern Studies and American Indian Studies in the Department of American Studies, and UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the Gillings School of Public Health. UNC’s Department of Anthropology has a new concentration in Food, Environment, and Sustainability beginning 2016. The concentration encompasses undergraduate courses and public programming that focus on the past, find lessons in the present, and look to the future to fully understand the human experience to eat, adapt, and evolve in a constantly changing world.

Classes: Food and American Culture, Archaeology of Food, Food Politics, Food Writing, Agricultural/Food Law and Policy, Political Economy of Food. For a full list, visit the UNC Food Studies website.
Contact: [email protected]

School: Boston University

Location: Boston, MA
Degrees Available: M.L.A. in Gastronomy
Description: Cofounded by Jacques Pépin and Julia Child, the program provides a holistic approach to food, incorporating the arts, humanities, and natural sciences into the study of historical and contemporary food systems. The program emphasizes a hands-on approach, with culinary arts laboratories and wine studies courses. Students can focus on one of four areas: Business and Entrepreneurship; Communication; Food Policy; History and Culture.
Good for: Students who want eat food as often as they think about it.
Classes: Food and the Senses; Nature’s Past: Histories of Environment and Society; Philosophy of Food; The Foundation of Beer and Spirits; Artisan Cheeses of the World; Studies in Food Activism
Contact: [email protected]

School: New York University Steinhardt School

Location: New York, NY
Degrees Available: B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Food Studies; B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. in Nutrition; B.A. in Global Public Health
Description: One of the first Food Studies programs in the country, this department offers an interdisciplinary approach to food and its global connections. Students will examine cultural, political, economic, environmental and geographic approaches to food in local, urban and global contexts. M.A. and B.A. students also have the option to study abroad easily with NYU’s global campuses.
Good for: Students with a global focus.
Classes: Comparative Cuisines; Food and Culture: New Orleans; Food Entrepreneurship; Water, Waste and the Urban Environment
Contact: Dr. Jennifer Berg; Director of Graduate Food Studies Program

School: Chatham University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Degrees Available: M.A. in Food Studies
Description: Housed within the Falk School of Sustainability, the program uses a holistic approach to food systems. The analysis of global, environmental and gender issues are centralized in the study of the food systems as a cultural, economic, and geographic entity. The campus also is host to organic gardens, apiaries, and orchards, offering a chance to work and engage with the practice of food production and preparation.
Good For: Students of the land, as well as the classroom.
Classes: The Politics of Grains; Dairy: From Pasture to Plate; Food, Labor and Inequality; Business of Food and Agriculture
Contact: Dr. Alice Julier; Director

School: University of the Pacific

Location: San Francisco, CA
Degrees Available: M.A. in Food Studies
Description: The first M.A. in food studies on the West Coast, the program is designed for working professionals with an interest in food systems. The interdisciplinary program aims to prepare students for professions in food, from writing to policy. All classes take place in the evening.
Good for: Students who are also professionals.
Classes: Food Marketing; Food Justice; Local Food History: A Case Study of San Francisco; Food, Nutrition, and Human Health
Contact: Dr. Ken Albala

School: Berea College

Location: Berea, KY
Degrees Available: B.A. in Child and Family Studies
Description: While this program isn’t entirely focused on food, The Child and Family Studies department offers the chance to focus on Nutrition and Foods Studies. The program as a whole focuses on the conceptual knowledge of the family unit, and is based on the hands-on approach encouraged at Berea College. The school also boasts a “no tuition promise”, guaranteeing that you’ll graduate free of debt!
Good For: Students who don’t want to break the bank to get their degree.
Classes: Appalachian Foodways; Food, Culture and Society; Consumers and the Food System
Contact: Dr. Margaret Dotson