Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

New module on the History of Food coming to Brookes

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Simnel Cake

The Oxford Brookes University History team have introduced a new module on the history of food into their undergraduate degree.

The History of Food, Politics and Society will be available to third-year students from September 2017. It will explore the ways that food has shaped our society, and will examine issues like colonialism, race, gender, famine and foodie fashions, as well as some of the cultural taboos and national identities associated with food, stretching from medieval times through to the modern period.

Students taking the module will be challenged to explore their own thoughts and philosophies around food. A special feature of the module will be the opportunity to access primary sources found in the Brookes special collections, which includes the personal library of the distinguished cookery writer Jane Grigson (1928-1990), and the National Brewing Library.

The module is led by Dr Alysa Levene, author of Cake: a Slice through History, and Professor Waltraud Ernst, who recently hosted an International Research symposium around alcohol consumption and drinking cultures across history.

Dr Alysa Levene and the History staff were “inspired to put this module together to get students to think about the way that food can take us straight into people's ways of thinking, their relationships with one another, and their surroundings. My own research has shown me how something as frivolous as cake can reveal tales of shortage and plenty, celebration, childhood and body image, health, affluence and international trade.” 

Find out more about the History course at Oxford Brookes University