Food, Identity, and Place: You Are What You Eat and Where You Eat It

Course Description

Food's influence begins at the home dinner table, shaping a sense of self. This course brings students to a close inspection of foodways, their own, as well as the food cultures in the spaces surrounding them, leading to questions like Who grows and produces the food on your plate? How far has that food traveled, and from where? Do all families in your community enjoy equal access to food? Who decides what a healthful diet is? What makes food "authentic"? And who are the food influencers? Student journals will be the main assignment, first to record the family's cuisine and then to note reactions to readings, media monitoring, and field observations from visits to Providence sites related to the role of food in local and global economies.

You can expect this course to touch on these themes:

  • Place and food: foodscapes, terroir, documentations of origin
  • Food authenticity and the role of tradition
  • Food/identity, ethnicity, and cuisine
  • Urban agriculture, the economics of food access<
By the end of the course, you will:
  • Have familiarity with ethnography and qualitative research
  • Understand sociological description and analysis
  • Have investigated the the role of food in Identity formation


This is an introductory level course, but students will be expected to be curious about the world and especially the role of food in shaping a sense of self and in the creation of neighborhood and community. If you enjoy watching youtube cooking videos, following Anthony Bourdain, Michael Zimmern, or other culinary personalities, reading cookbooks, or preparing a meal with a favorite relative, this might be a course for you. If you ever wondered where the food on your plate came from or how it was grown, this course could lead to some answers. If you ever imagined academic studies aligned with an interest in food, this course will be an introduction.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 01, 2022
Duration: 1 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): John Eng-Wong
Course Number: 10403