New interdisciplinary master's program on food studies
A new two-year master’s program focused on the cultural, environmental, and policy aspects of food and diet will be offered by IU’s College of Arts and Sciences beginning Fall 2021. Jointly run by the departments of Anthropology and Geography, students in this program will be able to take a range of coursework across departments and will also select and participate in an internship and capstone project.
Growing interest in food quality, policy, nutrition, and the socio-cultural aspects of food, along with concern over the sustainability of food systems in the face of global environmental change, has created new opportunities for those interested in the field of food studies. “Food studies isn’t just about food, it's about all the things connected to it: labor, environment, policy, racial inequality, and looking at the intersectional aspects of food, not just culinary practices,” said Professor Brian Gilley, Program Coordinator for the Food Studies Master’s Program. Students in this program will be able to apply their knowledge to any number of jobs, such as policy work, farming and hospitality.
Prof. Andrea Wiley, Chair of the Anthropology department, says she hopes the new master’s program will draw diverse students from many backgrounds: chefs, restaurants owners, and growers, for example, as well as recent college graduates from a wide variety of majors. “One of the cool things about food studies is that there aren’t rigid boundaries,” she says. “it’s very interdisciplinary. For me that’s really exciting.” So, students will take courses like “Urban Alternative Agriculture,” “Climate Change, Food and Farming Systems” and “Nutritional Anthropology.”
Just as food brings people together around the table, Wiley imagines that the new master’s degree program will be a great gathering place. She looks forward to welcoming the first class, which she projects to include 10 or 12 students, this coming fall.