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Religion and Food is an introduction to the academic study of religion, in which we focus on food as the primary motif for investigating the world’s religious traditions. We will read cases from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Meso-american, Native American and African-based traditions in different periods and places, and from different points of view. The driving questions that will consume us this semester are: what is Religion? How does one study “it?” How is food conceived in the study of Religion? This includes metaphors of eating, styles of eating, material substances, not-eating/fasting, diet practices, rituals of food service, food arts, and other concepts. By the end of the term, students will be able to think much more broadly about Religion in both its theoretical and historical aspects, and will have attained general religious literacy. In viewing the ways that food has been treated in traditions in both contemporary and ancient periods, you will begin to understand why and how these ideas are used to make sense of the world…that is what religion is all about.

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Scott Arboretum

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Professor Yvonne Chireau was awarded a Scott Arboretum Curricular Grant from the Scott Arboretum for use in her fall 2022 course, Religion and Food (RELG 019). The course syllabus, is made freely available here courtesy of the author.

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Religion Commons