Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Class on Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa debuts Fall, 2012

I'm not sure how many undergraduate Pennsylvania State University students check out my blog, but here's the announcement for the new African Studies class I'm piloting this fall at University Park:

                                                                               ©BETUMI, 2012

AFR 297B: Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa
Fall 2012 (3 credits)
Place: 173 Willard
Time: MWF 9:05 – 9:55 a.m.
Instructor: Fran Osseo-Asare (

·      Discover and define sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) place in food studies by:
o   using resources from history, economics, education, sociology, psychology, linguistics, political science, anthropology, literature, geography, agricultural sciences, gastronomy, public health, popular culture, and nutrition to create understandings of the roles procuring, selecting, preparing, consuming and celebrating food play throughout SSA.
o   recognizing the multiplicity of food cultures and culinary contributions that SSA brings to the global table, as well as the challenges facing its foodways.
·      Explore historical and geographical contexts, major foods, ingredients and flavor principles, tools and cooking equipment, meal formats, diet and health, special occasions, religious significance of foods, rituals and taboos, food production and preference changes over time, including pre-colonial, colonial, marketing, and globalizing influences.
·      Identify the roles foods play in traditional and contemporary cultures as well as similarities and differences and intraregional, interregional and international links. 
·      Create a final project on a personalized area of interest:
o   Possible topic areas: specific indigenous or adopted ingredients; the role of new media in images of African cuisine; “national dish” and national identity in Africa; effects of new technologies or food crops on food cultures; specific colonial or multinational experiences and impacts on diet or farming systems; culinary tourism in Africa; sub-Saharan African food and the African diaspora; cookbooks and the oral tradition; food in African art or literature; or . . .

The instructor, Fran Osseo-Asare, MSW (U.C., Berkeley), PhD (Penn State) is the author of Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa (Greenwood Press, 2005), a culinary professional, and an African food blogger (

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