History department’s series explores the role of food in the world

Published by adviser, Author: Rebecca Koch - Rocket Contributor , Date: October 17, 2016
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The history department presented two lectures last week that are part of the department’s series on food.

William Bergmann, a history professor, said the department chooses a different theme or topic and in the past has dealt with racial injustice, rights and liberties, but decided this year to focus on food.

“The idea here is to think about the past and the present, the politics, the art, how we deal with food in the world and how food helps shape us as who we are,” Bergmann said.

Bergmann said the goal of this semester’s series is to get students thinking about the ways in which food is important beyond what appears on people’s plates. Presentations have included a history of the pepper and eating from street vendors safely around the world.

One presentation last week was about sustainable agriculture in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon. The other was about the U.S. farm bill. Both were given by Nadine Lehrer, assistant professor of food studies at Chatham University.

Bergmann said some in the audience at the presentations may come from rural communities and take what they know going on around them and link it to bigger pictures.

“The aim of the series is to get students to think of the ways in which food relates to the world beyond what they eat,” Bergmann said. “Choices about food feed into this web that link us all together and it isn’t just something we purchase and consume and move on, but is woven into the fabric of our lives. Food is not just our diets.”

The next event is scheduled for Oct. 27 and will bring in the restaurant Conflict Kitchen from Pittsburgh.

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