English R1A

Reading and Composition: Eating Bodies

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2017 Diaz, Rosalind
MWF 9-10 211 Dwinelle

Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Marryat, Florence: The Blood of the Vampire

Other Readings and Media

Other texts may include: "A Subtlety," Kara Walker; "We Ate the Birds," Margaret Atwood; "Tales from the Breast," Hiromi Goto; The Blob, dir. Chuck Russell; and other selected films, poems, and short stories.


In this course we will collectively re-think what we think we know about eating bodies. We will build and share nuanced analyses of the many meanings of food, practices of eating, and bodies who eat, as well as bodies who eat other bodies. To guide our exploration, we will consider frameworks from feminist fat studies, postcolonial studies, critical race studies, disability studies, and queer-of-color critique. We will ask: who gets to eat and what do they eat? What counts as “eating”? When is eating understood to be normal, healthy, and wholesome, and when is it represented as excessive, addictive, immoral, disruptive, horrifying, and/or pathological? Whose bodies supply food and sustenance for other bodies? Whose bodies are categorized as parasitic, vampiric, cannibalistic, or otherwise unruly eaters? We will seek out texts (books, but also films, short stories, art installations, and other cultural artifacts) and practice interpretive strategies that help us dig into the strange, complex, and multidimensional meanings of eating bodies. We’ll begin our exploration with a cluster of late-nineteenth-century texts, focusing on the racialized and gendered history of eating bodies in the context of imperialism and slavery. Midway through the course, students (that’s you) will nominate and vote on texts for us to study together. We will develop our critical and analytical skills through reading, writing, and other rhetorical modes that enable exploration, argumentation, and critique. We will work together to tackle the challenge of developing and revising interesting, substantive projects that change over time to reflect our emerging ideas.  

Back to Semester List