More Than A Meal: A Global History of Food

Heather J. Hoag

Core C

Course Description:

Nothing is as basic to human existence as our need for nourishment; we all need to eat. The expansion of systems of food production has led human societies throughout history to alter their surrounding environments. Whether it is clearing a forested area to expand agricultural production in West Africa or damming a river for irrigation in Tennessee, people’s need for food has shaped the modern world. The uniting of the Old and New Worlds in the late 15th century led to unparalleled exchange of crops, animals, and foodways. A result of these historical forces, our food has become truly global. Through readings, discussions, films, and outside activities, students will examine the development of our global food system and the role of food in shaping larger processes of historical change. Topics examined include: the development of food production systems, the role of crop, technology and cultural exchange, the politics of food shortage, food as culture, and emergence of a global cuisine.

Faculty Bio:

Heather Hoag is an associate professor of African and environmental history and associate chair of USF’s International Studies Program (BAIS). She received her Ph.D. in History at Boston University (2003). She has traveled extensively in Africa as well as lived in Ghana (West Africa) and Tanzania (East Africa). Before coming to USF, she coordinated Oxfam America’s Horn of Africa Program and taught at the University of California, San Diego. Her current research is on the history of river development and the building of hydroelectric dams in Africa. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting San Francisco’s farmer’s markets and eating establishments.