HIST 3267 Syllabus

Nipissing University
Faculty of Arts & Science

James Murton
Office # H302
(705) 474-3450 Ext. 4402
Office Hours: Tues. 2:30-4:00 pm &
Wed. 10:30-11:30 am

Classroom: F305
Class Time: Thurs. 12:30-2:00

I encourage you to come by my office, whether to get help with assignments, ask questions about course material, discuss your progress, or simply to talk history.

The news today is full of concerns about food – from the environmental contamination of water supplies by factory farms to the health effects of fast food. This course will contextualize these topics by exploring the cultural and environmental history of food. We will focus on food as a product of human-environment interaction through agriculture, humanity’s main source of food and central form of interaction between humans and the rest of nature. Students will gain historical and political perspective on the growing environmental, supply, and health problems of the contemporary world food system.

Course Structure
Hist 3267 is a lecture course with a significant seminar component. Most weeks will feature a lecture on that week’s topic. The remainder of our time will often be spent in guided discussion of the questions generated for that week’s readings, but films, guest lectures, and other activities are also possible.

Required Readings
Pilcher, Jeffrey M. Food in World History. New York: Routledge, 2006. Available at bookstore.
Hist 3267 Course Reader. Available at the bookstore
Hist 3267 Refshare List. Available through the library website (click on Refshare).

Style Guide
Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 4th ed. or 5th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004 or 2006. Note: Required for all courses in history. No work will be assigned from this book but it will be assumed that you have it. If you don’t have it, there are several copies in the library.

Lecture outlines and other selected course materials will be available on the instructor’s website: http://www.nipissingu.ca/faculty/jamesm/.

Marks and Assignments

Assignment Weight Due Date
Reading Questions 5% TBA
Essay #1 15% Sept 29
Midterm Test 10% Oct 8
Essay #2 35% Nov 24
Final Exam 35% TBA

Reading Questions
Students will be required, at regular intervals, to create and hand in a question (or questions) based on the week’s readings. A question(s) should be based on all the readings for that week.

We will (normally) discuss these questions in class following the lecture on Thursday and come up with a question (or questions) for the midterm test and final exam (though not all the questions generated in class will necessarily appear on the exams).

This assignment is designed to encourage you to read carefully and think about how course readings connect to overall course themes. It also gives you practice with engaging the arguments of historians.

Assignment Guidelines

Questions must be e-mailed to the instructor (at jamesm@nipissingu.ca) at least 24 hours before the start of class on Thursday (iow, by Wednesday at 12:30 pm). Questions will be marked on a pass/fail basis.


Then you must submit a question(s) for weeks:

If your last name starts with…
A-F 2, 5, 9, 12
G-O 3, 7, 10, 13
P-Z 4, 8, 11, 13

Writing Assignments
The writing assignments for this course both revolve around a research topic that you will need to select early in the term. Assignment 1 will be to write a short essay summarizing the major arguments and evidence of a book that is central to your topic. Assignment 2 will be to write a research paper on the topic.

There are three options. In option one, you will select your topic from a set list of topics, each of which is paired with a book. In option two, the topics are less structured (and perhaps more interesting), so you will need to come up with a central book of your own. Option three is to come up with a topic entirely on your own. I will ask you to sign up for a topic. Note: those students selecting options two and three must consult with me before writing Assignment 1.

Option 1: Set List

You may select a topic and matched book from the list below. Three students per topic. All books are on reserve at the library.

Food and Colonialism

Norton, Marcy. Sacred Gifts, Profane, Pleasures: a History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell U P, 2008.

The Welfare State

Vernon, James. Hunger: A Modern History. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2007.

Making the Industrial Countryside

Steven Stoll, The Fruits of Natural Advantage: Making the Industrial Countryside in California. Berkeley: U of California P, 1998.

Nutrition & Health

Ostry, Aleck Samuel. Nutrition Policy in Canada, 1870-1939. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006.

The Culture of Food

Belasco, Warren James. Meals to Come: a History of the Future of Food. Berkeley: U of California P, 2006.

Ethnic Food & Identity

Gabbicia, Donna R. We are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U P, 1998.

Diet & Technology

Freidberg, Susanne. Fresh: A Perishable History. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2009.

Wheat and the Shaping of Ontario and Quebec

McCallum, J. Unequal Beginnings: Agriculture and Economic Development in Quebec and Ontario until 1870. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1980.

Industrialization and Diet in the US

Levenstein, Harvey. Revolution at the Table: the Transformation of the American Diet. New York: Oxford U P, 1988.

Industrialization and Diet in Britain

Johnston, James P. A Hundred Years Eating: Food, Drink and Daily Diet in Britain Since the Late Nineteenth Century. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s U P, 1977.

The Postwar Diet

Levenstein, Harvey. Paradox of Plenty: a Social History of Eating in Modern America. New York: Oxford U P, 1993.

The Business of Food

Nestle, Marian. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Berkeley: U of California P, 2007.

Food, Agriculture and Identity

McWilliams, James E. A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. New York: Columbia U P, 2005.

Food Chains

Horowitz,Roger. Putting Meat on the American Table: Taste, Technology, Transformation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 2006.

Food Chains

Morgan, Dan. Merchants of Grain. New York: Penguin, 1980.

Food Chains

Soluri, John. Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States. University of Texas Press, 2006.

Industrialization, Food Chains and Culture

Pilcher, Jeffrey M. The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City, 1890-1917. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

Food and Identity

Pilcher, Jeffrey M. ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998

Option 2
A. Find a story in the news about a food scare, and write the history of the food involved, considering how it used to be produced, how it is now produced, and how production methods may have contributed to the food scare. You must hand in a copy of the news story with Assignment 1.

B. Find a favourite family recipe and give the history of the dish and/or of the foods that make it up. Consider: how did this dish come to be? What does it mean to people, and why? Is it a traditional recipe? Is it an example of “ethnic food”? If it does claim to be ethnic, how “authentic” is it, and what does it mean to be authentic in a global food system, anyway? You must hand in a copy of the recipe with Assignment 1.

With this option, you must come and see the instructor before writing Assignment 1.

Option 3
In this option you come up with a topic and matching book on your own. You must come and see the instructor before writing Assignment 1.

Assignment 1: Short Essay
This assignment tests your ability to read carefully and sympathetically and to express your thoughts in essay form. Write a short essay summarizing the major arguments and evidence of your book. 2-3 pages.

Assignment 2: Major Essay
This assignment tests your ability to think deeply and carefully about a topic and write about it at some length. At least 6 sources. 10-12 pages.
Midterm Test
The midterm test will be a relatively short test (about 30 minutes) designed to give you a sense of your grasp of course material so far. It will largely be based on the questions generated in class.
Final Exam
To be taken during the April exam period. The final exam will contain questions designed to test basic knowledge as well as essay questions designed to test your understanding of course concepts and your ability to integrate this knowledge into a coherent historical argument. The exam will contain a selection of the questions generated in class. It will cover material from both lectures and seminars. More details in class.

Research and Writing

Assignments in this course must be based on scholarly, peer-reviewed sources. Non-scholarly, non-peer reviewed sources (such as encyclopedias, textbooks, newspapers and web pages) may only be used for general information and background.

The major databases for research in history are America: History and Life (which covers the U.S. and Canada) and Historical Abstracts (which covers everything else). Note that JSTOR only covers certain journals and does not include any Canadian journals.

Your best bets are recent articles from major historical journals (major journals always have simple names like The Journal of American History) or from the following:

Journals in Food Studies:

Food & Foodways the most historical of the food journals
Food, Culture, and Society multidisciplinary

Journals in environmental and agricultural history:

Environmental History the major journal in the field
Environment and History emphasis on Britain
Agricultural History emphasis on North America

Journals in related fields or areas:

Journal of Historical Geography
major journal in this related field
Historical Geography emphasis on North America
Annals of the Association of American Geographers geography generally
The Canadian Geographer geography of Canada
Prairie Forum history of the Canadian Prairies
You will find many useful scholarly, peer-reviewed books in the library on environmental and food history. For guidance, use the footnotes of assigned articles and the “Further Reading” sections of the Pilcher book. Note as well the authors you are assigned to read – these are generally important scholars – and see what other published works they have that may be useful.

All scholarly work must include full and proper citations, in which you acknowledge the source of any arguments, statistics, or exact quotes that you include in an essay. Either in-text (sometimes called “MLA”) referencing or footnote/endnote style (commonly called “Chicago Style”) referencing may be used in this course. You must, however, use one of these systems. For information on, and examples of, Chicago style see Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004). You can also find short, useful guides to both styles at http://www.queensu.ca/writingcentre/handouts/index.html.

Proofing Abbreviations and Grammatical Terms
I will use the following set of abbreviations and grammatical terms when marking your essays.

run-on: a sentence where two sentences, which should be separate, are run together (Bill hit the ball he is a good batter.)
cs: comma splice: a run-on sentence where the two sentences are joined by a comma
lc: lower case (change the capital letter to lower case)
uc: upper case (change the lower case letter to a capital)
frag: sentence fragment (the sentence is missing a verb or subject—usually a verb)
sp: incorrect spelling
ds: change to double space
ss: change to single space
ID: identify (who is this person?; what is this organization?; etc)
awk: the sentence sounds awkward—thus, usually, obscuring your point. Re-word it
vag: vague: re-word in order to make the point in a more specific or detailed manner
ww: wrong word (the word doesn’t mean what you appear to be using it to mean)
nw: not a word
trans: transition: the point doesn’t appear to follow logically from the previous point
ref: what concept, person, etc. does this pronoun refer to?
?: I don’t understand what this sentence means/what you’re trying to say here
pv passive voice. A way of structuring sentences that you should try to avoid as much as possible, although don’t be fanatical about it (as some people are): it does have its uses. In the active voice, the subject precedes the verb which precedes the object (“John hit Bill”), whereas in the passive the object precedes the verb (“Bill was hit by John”). The problem (or one problem ) with the passive voice is that it is often used to omit the subject entirely, thus hiding who actually did what (“Bill was hit”). It also makes your writing sound vague and hesitant.
clause: Any group of words containing a subject and verb (ie, a sentence, but can also refer to part of a sentence).
mm: misplaced modifier. Most easily explained using an example: “She served hamburgers to the men on paper plates.” The phrase on paper plates appears to refer to men, whereas it should actually refer to hamburgers. Generally phrases should come directly after the words they modify. Corrected: “She served hamburgers, on paper plates, to the men.” Or: “She served the men hamburgers on paper plates.”
dm: Dangling modifier. A word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. For example, “After reading the original study, the article remains unconvincing.” The doer of the action has not been stated. A corrected version might read: “After reading the original study, I find the article unconvincing,” where the doer of the action is “I.”

More information on grammar and writing can be found in the Rampolla guide. A comprehensive online resource is OWL (The Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University: owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/. A good set of basic guides to grammar and referencing can be found at the Queen’s University Writing Centre: www.queensu.ca/writingcentre/# (click on Handouts).
University Grading Standards (from the Academic Calendar)
“A” – (80-100%)
“B” – (70-79%)
“C” – (60-69%)
“D” – (50-59%)
“F” – (0-49%)

“A” indicates Exceptional Performance: comprehensive in-depth knowledge of the principles and materials treated in the course, fluency in communicating that knowledge and independence in applying material and principles.
“B” indicates Good Performance: thorough understanding of the breadth of materials and principles treated in the course and ability to apply and communicate that understanding effectively.
“C” indicates Satisfactory Performance: basic understanding of the breadth of principles and materials treated in the course and an ability to apply and communicate that understanding competently.
“D” indicates Minimally Competent Performance: adequate understanding of most principles and materials treated in the course, but significant weakness in some areas and in the ability to apply and communicate that understanding.
“F” indicates Failure: inadequate or fragmentary knowledge of the principles and materials treated in the course or failure to complete the work required in the course.

Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty includes cheating and plagiarism. The definition of cheating is fairly straightforward. The following information on plagiarism is offered to clear up any possible confusion. I advise you to read the section of the university calendar dealing with academic dishonesty and come to me if you have any questions or concerns.

The university calendar defines plagiarism as follows:

“Essentially, plagiarism involves submitting or presenting work in a course as if it were the student’s own work done expressly for that particular course when, in fact, it is not. Most commonly plagiarism exists when:
a) the work submitted or presented was done, in whole or in part, by an individual other than the one submitting or presenting the work.
b) parts of the work (e.g. phrases, ideas through paraphrase or sentences) are taken from another source without reference to the original author.
c) the whole work (e.g. an essay) is copied from another source and/or
d) a student submits or presents a work in one course which has also been submitted or presented in another course (although it may be completely original with that student) without the knowledge or prior agreement of the instructors involved.”

Penalties range from a grade of zero on the assignment concerned to expulsion from the university. Students should be warned that I take a very dim view of plagiarism and will pursue the maximum possible penalty against anyone suspected of it.
Late Policy
Assignments must be handed in at the start of class on the due date. After this time assignments will be considered to be late.

Penalties: Late assignments will be penalized 3% per day, counting weekends as one day. Assignments handed in more than 10 days after the due date will receive a grade of zero.

Assignments cannot be submitted by e-mail.

Week 1 (Sept 10): Introduction: Deciphering a Meal

Readings: None.

2 (Sept 15 & 17): The Origins & Spread of Agriculture

Diamond, “To Farm or Not to Farm,” and “How to Make an Almond,” COURSEPACK.
Ponting, “The First Great Transformation,” COURSEPACK.

3 (Sept 22 & 24): Food & Ancient Civilizations

Ponting, “Destruction and Survival,” COURSEPACK.
Diamond, “The Ancient Ones: the Anasazi and their Neighbors,” COURSEPACK.
Pilcher, Chap. 1

4 (Sept 29 & Oct 1): Origins & Rituals of the Medieval Meal

Donahue, “Mixed Husbandry: the English Ecological System,” COURSEPACK.
Paston-Williams, from “Good Lordship & Feasting,” COURSEPACK.
Simmons, from “Agriculture and its Impact,” COURSEPACK.

5 (Oct 6 & 8): The Columbian Exchange

Pilcher, Chaps 2&3
Norton, Marcy. “Tasting Empire: Chocolate and the European Internalization of Mesoamerican Aesthetics.” The American Historical Review 111, no. 3 (2006): 660-691. REFSHARE.

6 (Oct 13 & 15): Reading Week

7 (Oct 20 & 22): Morals, Markets & Middle Classes

Pilcher, 4&5
Thompson, E.P. “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century.” Past & Present 50 (1971): 76-136. REFSHARE.

8 (Oct 27 & 29): Industry & Globalization

Pilcher, Introduction to Part II and Chaps, 6, 8, and 9.
Cronon, “Annihilating Space: Meat,” COURSEPACK.
*optional* Krugman, Paul. “Supply, Demand and English Food.” Fortune, July 28, 1998. REFSHARE. *optional*

9 (Nov 3 & 5): The Transformation of Farming in the 20th Century

McNeill, from Something New Under the Sun, COURSEPACK.
Kuyek, “Nation,” COURSEPACK.
Pilcher, Chap. 11

10 (Nov 10 & 12): Postwar Food Systems

Friedmann, “Remaking ‘Traditions’,” 36-48, COURSEPACK.
Friedmann, Harriet. “The Political Economy of Food: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar International Food Order.” The American Journal of Sociology, 88 (Supplement: Marxist Inquiries: Studies of Labor, Class, and States) (1982), S248-S286. REFSHARE. Note: Skip sections 2 & 6.

11 (Nov 17&19): Gender, Family, & Cooking

Friedmann, “Remaking ‘Traditions’,” 48-54. COURSEPACK.
Dummitt, Chris. “Finding a Place for Father: Selling the Barbecue in Postwar Canada.” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 9 (1998): 209-223. REFSHARE.
Innes, ‘“34,000,000,000 Work-Hours’ Saved: Convenience Foods and Mom’s Home Cooking,” COURSEPACK.

12 (Nov 24&26): Worries

Scott, “Taming Nature,” COURSEPACK.
Smil, “Environmental Change and Agroecosystems,” COURSEPACK.
Pollan, from The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, COURSEPACK.

13 (Dec 1 & 3): Prospects

Smil, “Nitrogen & Civilization: Managing the Nitrogen Cycle,” COURSEPACK.
Laidlaw, “Saving Agriculture from Itself,” COURSEPACK.
Shiva, “Reclaiming Food Democracy,” COURSEPACK.
Friedmann, “Remaking ‘Traditions’,” 54-60, COURSEPACK.

14 (Dec 8): Review