Food Courses at the University of Virginia

Farmers Markets, Food Politics and Research Methods

PLAP 4500


French Culture: Food in Literature and Film

FRTR 2552-1

Jennifer Holm


More than any other nation, France is readily associated with food and gastronomy. Gertrude Stein famously wrote, \"[France] is a country where they talk about eating. Every country talks about eating but in that country they talk about talking about eating.\" Indeed, the restaurant review and the food critic were born in France, as were myriad culinary terms such as “gastronomy”, “cuisine”, and “chef”. All of this “food talk” has long extended beyond conversation, permeating the nation’s literature and film. This course will examine the enduring presence of food in fiction and non-fiction texts dating back to the sixteenth century, as well as in contemporary French cinema. Students in this course will explore a number of questions: What does food mean in France? What is the relationship between food and culture? How do the French harness cuisine as a political, social, and cultural tool? How does food connect France’s past, present, and future?

All readings will be in English translation and discussion will be in English. This course may not be taken as part of the requirements for the major or minor in French. This course fulfills the second writing requirement.

Moral Ecology of Food

IHGC 5559

Willis Jenkins


This interdisciplinary seminar treats the ethics of food as a way into questions about humanity’s changing role within ecological systems. Exploring a series of controversies arising within contemporary food practices – including obligations to the hungry, responses to obesity, labor fairness, genetic technologies, and treatment of animals - it connects contemporary food movements and food arguments to to broader inquiries about the interpretation of nature and the rights and goods of a human life.

Hosted by the Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, this seminar seeks to develop conversation across departments and disciplines. It is open to any graduate student interested in developing cross-disciplinary aptitudes. Space is limited.

Food Heritage Workshop

PLAC 5853

Tanya Denckla Cobb


If you're still thinking about what classes to take, here's a new one that will build important media and narrative skills for your work. Understanding how to work with a community by conveying a "story" is becoming a critical skill. There has even been a webinar or two in the past year on the importance of learning to convey "story" -- for planners, which shows how this skill's importance is broadening! In this class you will learn to create a narrative digital map, a podcast, and how to conduct qualitative interviews that will inform your research paper. All will aim to tell the story about a specific aspect of food heritage (your choice) and how it is influencing the community's present and future in terms of sustainability, identity, sense of place.

So, if you love food - this may be your class! Are you curious about its origins? histories? current evolution? connections to politics, culture, and narrative? Are you an independent learner, interested in researching and meeting people in the community? Then look no further - this class, focusing on the heritage foods of Virginia is for you.

Built Environment & Public Health: Local to Global

SARC 3559/5559, PHS 3620/5620

Wendy Cohn


How do sidewalks, block parties, food deserts, and transit systems impact our health? Does your environment contribute to your physical activity and sense of well-being? How would you re-design your environment and life to maximize your health and happiness?

This course will address these and other fundamental questions in the built environment and public health. We will ask you to consider that health is a universal aspiration and concern for both individuals and societies, both local and global. We need to consider health in the design of our built envi­ronment to prevent a range of negative impacts including expo­sures to toxic hazards, traffic injury, urban sprawl, segregation, concentrated poverty, degraded food environments, loss of public space, and global climate change.

The plan­ning and design of a built environment that acknowledges individual and public health as a driving condition and works with the ecologies of our planet requires solutions that cut across the traditional boundaries of interest groups and disciplines. Your instructors will frame weekly topics from the perspective of Architecture and Public Health, and will invite guests from other disciplines to contribute their research and experience to the class. On-line communication, multi-media and team-based learning will be used to broaden awareness and discussion of the issues.

The future requires a new generation of practitioners who embrace an interdisciplinary approach to design, policy, and planning of healthy communities. This course is intended to enable you to participate in making the world more sustainable and just by connecting the themes of the course with your own life through decisions you make, support for policies and public communication.



Copyright © 2012 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.