Sink your teeth into these 5 food-related classes this Spring 2019 semester

Students can learn about the Mediterranean diet, sustainable farming, the culture of food and more

A variety of schools within ASU are allowing students to explore food through multiple perspectives this upcoming semester. 

So before finalizing your class list, spice up your schedule with one of these five food-related classes.

1) Cultural Aspects of Food

Cultural Aspects of Food is a nutrition course offered by the College of Health Solutions that is designed for students to study the history and diversity of the culture of food.

Simin Levinson, the clinical associate professor who will teach the course in the spring, said the course objectives include understanding the culture of food in relation to ethnicity, religion, agriculture and health benefits.

Levinson said the course is a great way for students to explore their own cultural backgrounds because they will have the opportunity to prepare food dishes that are traditional to their cultures. She said students will also review restaurants and movies as a way to discover other cultures through food.

“It raises our awareness that we’re surrounded by so many different cultures once we start to pay attention,” Levinson said. “I think it also helps us to learn about other cultures and appreciate the differences that we have.”

2) Fighting for Food

Fighting for Food is a new interdisciplinary course being offered through the Herberger School of Design and the Arts in conjunction with the School of Sustainability with the intention of changing the way the ASU community understands access to healthy foods. 

The course has a goal of creating disruptive pop-up works such as installations or short performances, which are intended to engage students, faculty and campus visitors in food-related sustainability issues. 

The course welcomes students in all disciplines including sustainability, design, film, dance and theater. If students are unable to meet the prerequisites listed for the course, they have the option to complete an override form. 

3) Food and Culture: The Mediterranean Lifestyle in Italy

Food and Culture: The Mediterranean Lifestyle lives up to its name by helping students analyze food and eating practices in Italy from a historical, cultural and sociological perspective, according to the class syllabus. 

Juliann Vitullo, an associate Italian professor in the School of International Letters and Cultures who is currently teaching the course, said it is designed to encourage students to reflect on how they might be able to adapt aspects of the Mediterranean diet to their local diets.

“The goal is really not so much to try to reproduce a prescriptive diet but to think about the principles of the Mediterranean lifestyle and ways to translate them to their own lives,” Vitullo said. 

She said the course has been previously offered online, but it will be available in-person with a new teacher in the spring and will allow students to participate in organized trips to local farms and food producers. 

“I think it’s important for students to reflect on their relationship to food for their own individual health but also for the future of their community,” Vitullo said. 

4) Mexican Foods in the Southwest

Mexican Foods in the Southwest is a new course being offered through the School of Transborder Studies during the spring 2019 semester. 

The class, which is available to students from any major, allows students to explore culinary traditions in the Southwest and the modern and historical issues relating to those traditions, according to the course description. 

Read More: Students can explore Mexican food traditions through new ASU course

Students will use their own individual connections to these traditions as well as research, film and television to learn about the way food shapes personal experiences. 

5) Sustainable Food and Farms 

Sustainable Food and Farms is a course offered through the School of Sustainability that helps students to learn about the challenges associated with food systems and sustainability.

The course is designed for students to examine different dimensions of sustainability challenges related to food and apply that knowledge to aspects of their own local food systems. 

Hallie Eakin, one of the associate professors in the ASU School of Sustainability who will teach the course in the Spring, said she hopes the course will allow students to critically think about the roles they contribute to their communities through food. 

“I want the students to feel empowered that they can enact change in the food system through what they eat, what they grow – if they decide to grow, who they interact with, what kinds of decisions they support as citizens,” Eakin said. “And that they can understand the consequences of the types of choices that we make as a society, and they make as individuals, in the food system.” 


Reach the reporter at chofmann@asu.edu and follow @chofmann528 on Twitter.  

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