Food and Gastronomy in Latin America provides a grand tour of the region’s fundamental and global contributions to agriculture, foodways and gastronomy. The course begins with the emergence of agriculture in Mesoamerica, Highland South America and Lowland South America and explore how this development led to political complexification and the emergence of states and civilizations in Latin America. Case studies on important plant species domesticated in Latin America are presented. These foods are explored through the lens of the Great Columbian Biological Exchange (cf. Crosby) and the contributions of various peoples in Latin America to world gastronomy. Foodways of particular socio-linguistic groups and regions are examined in detail, with major case studies from Mexico and Peru that draw on themes of indigeneity, colonialism, identity and foodways, cultural fusion and appropriation and political ecology. The course also looks at the rise of high-end gastronomy in Latin America and global attention being paid to Latin American chefs who draw from various cultural and heritage elements in Latin America in pursuit of gastronomy. The course draws on the following disciplines: anthropology, sociology, geography, history, political science, ecology, biology, botany, zoology, among others.
John Richard Stepp
Center for Latin American Studies
Department of Anthropology
Ecological anthropology, ethnobotany, medical anthropology, visual anthropology
Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Ecuador, Peru, Caribbean