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Food for Thought: Spicy Topics in Food Studies


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelor’s programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.


If all goes well, we can eat what we want all day long. But very often, things do not go well: we want to eat, but we do not have access to food, or not enough, either because we do not have the financial means or because the food is simply not available. But even if there is food in abundance, there are all kinds of constraints that prevent us from eating whatever we want, for instance our health or personal preferences – you might want to skip a meal when there is haggis or Brussels sprouts on the table, or something you’re unfamiliar with, like ajapsandali. (Or conversely: precisely because you don’t know ajapsandali, you want to taste it!) Very often our beliefs and convictions restrict us from eating certain foodstuff, sometimes always, sometimes occasionally. These beliefs may be of a religious or ethical nature, such as respect for animal life or a sustainable environment; as we all know, the latter in particular is the subject of much scientific research.

In this course, we will examine current trends and issues in the field of food studies, both in a local and global context. We will explore topics such as the language of food and taste, and the way we communicate about foodstuff and foodways. We will discuss the impact of food on different cultures and how food shapes identities and social relations. We will also analyze the impact of globalization and the role of commerce and politics in the past and present. Last but not least this course addresses food sustainability and the environment.

Course objectives

Knowledge and insight:

This course provides students in-depth knowledge of current trends and issues in the field of food studies, both from a local and global perspective. They will gain insight into various topics related to food identity, food culture and food sustainability through readings, discussions, and research. They will also gain a better understanding of the impact of globalization and politics on food systems.


  • Researching: analysing; generating solutions; project-based working; digital skills

  • Collaborating: oral communication; written communication; presenting; societal awareness

  • Reflecting: independent learning; resilience


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • In-class participation: 30%

  • Group presentation combined with individual reflection paper: 20%

  • Individual presentation: 10%

  • Final project: 40%


As shown above.


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursions, etc.). If you are unable to attend, notify the lecturer (listed in the information bar on the right) in advance. Being absent may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


Only the final project can be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The readings will be made available in the syllabus.


Students participating in this module will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students can register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form provided by Umail. On this form students indicate the modules in order of their preference. The coordinators assign students to a module based on their preference and bachelor’s programme, in order to create a diverse group of students and equal amount of students per module Usually students get assigned to the module of their first or second choice.
General information about MyStudymap is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.

Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.