As food becomes a hot topic of discussion, Occidental continues to expand its curriculum to included new courses to explore the role of food in politics, society, and culture.
At Occidental, there are many opportunities for students to learn about food both in and out of the classroom. Many different departments offer classes on the subject, ranging from the more scientific aspects of nutrition and diet, to the complex relationship between taste and hearing.
CSP 72, Restaurant Culture taught by John Lang. This freshman Cultural Studies Program (CSP) class seeks to examine restaurant culture, history, and employment in order to look critically at society and the individual.
CSP 76, Animal Ethics, taught by Clair Morrissey, evaluates why humans choose to eat some animals, while keeping others as pets and in zoos.
KINE 312, Diet, Disease, and Exercise, taught by Eric Sternlicht. This science course looks at degenerative diseases and how diet and exercise can be used as treatment and prevention tools.
MUSC 385, Music and Food, taught by David Kasunic. This course explores the connection between food and music from the 16th century forward while considering many areas of academia in the discussion, including looking at 16th century 'table music,' the rise of the restaurant, and the idea of 'fine dining' in the United States.
SOC 240, Sociology of Food, taught by John Lang. This course looks to question the connections that the preparation, consumption, production, and distribution of food has with culture and society.
UEP 246/247 is a student led class that teaches sustainable food practices in the FEAST Garden. Occidental students get the chance to learn practical cooking and gardening skills as well as hear guest speakers lecture on a variety of topics including the restaurant industry, nutrition, and community gardens.
UEP Food Assessment is a year-long class that is currently being offered to students who are interested in community food justice. The class offers students an opportunity to work with LA CAUSA, a nonprofit that works to empower disenfranchised youth, and take on a leadership role while researching food access and food assessment methodology through the UEPI.
UEP 306, Food and the Environment, taught by multiple professors in the Policy department. This course on food and the environment explores the relationship between food and people and it's impact on cultural, environment, economics, health, and social issues on a local and global scale.
The classroom isn't the only space for students to explore how food impacts the world. For incoming First Years, the OxyEngage programs often allow students first hand experience with food issues. In 2010, students worked closely with local organizations to evaluate grocery stores in impoverished neighborhoods, improve community gardens, and learn about how local restaurants are trying to make a difference in the Food Justice OxyEngage. This summer, students will be working with Food Forward, LA Regional Food Bank, working at Washington Irving Middle School's garden, and discussing obesity in America during the Social Justice and the City OxyEngage Experience.