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Food Studies Minor

Food Studies involves the governance, planning, history, design, business and implementation of food systems within urban and rural environments. Challenges involving food sustainability and security pose some of the most serious threats and greatest opportunities for planning the future of resilient cities. This degree-seeking minor program provides an integrative approach to food studies in the urban environment, focused on an introduction to the study of food that is essential for preparing the next leaders in this field.


Food Studies is among the top growing interests of study at American universities. Over the next 10 years opportunities in the food industry that already employs more than 308,700 people. The greater New Orleans region will always have a need for skilled employees in the food and restaurant industry whether it entails policy-making, urban agriculture and food systems, restaurant management or media. We seek to provide a more integrative learning approach offering a wide range of courses to open opportunities in the food industry. To move this region towards more successful implementation of food studies, industry professionals need to understand the bigger picture within which they are operating.


Successful completion of 6 courses (18 credit hours) and all program activities, under the direction of the Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture and the Humanities Department are required to earn a minor in Food Studies.



Required Courses



Introduction to Food Studies

This course introduces the connections between food, culture, society and traditions, looking at the role of food in the construction of identity, race, gender in food production, policy and the building of communities. We also examine food traditions and systems from the African Diaspora and Africa by considering globalization, commerce and technology. The course introduces analytical approaches and methods to a growing field of research in Food Studies.




Psychology of Food

This course is designed to provide an in depth look at the psychology of food. The psychology of eating, consumer choices, nutrition and the marketing and packaging of food.


This course encompasses the study of eating as it affects communities. Topics include cultural traditions, food as comfort, eating as a social ritual, and social challenges. The impact of food advertising aimed at the consumer and how each individual’s eating is affected by the modern environment.




Food & Literature

This course will focus on expressions about food in various literatures. Within this course, food paradoxes and dilemmas such as food and power, food and labor, food that is culturally authentic and expressive, and especially food that is traditional and handmade aiding in maintaining relationships between individuals and communities.




The History of the Food Industry

This course is designed to explore the history of the food industry; agriculture; food production; labor movements; and the restaurant industry. The course will also look at the history of the food industry in Louisiana, the impact it made both nationally and internationally.


How did the United States go from a Jeffersonian ideal of agrarian reform to industrialization? What role did slavery, sharecropping and migrant labor play in building systems and wealth in the United States? What role did Louisiana play in the commercialization of food products? What is the Land Grant Act of 1862 and the Morrill Act of 1890? What role did Historically Black Colleges and Universities play in agriculture, food policy, farm bills and access to land and wealth?




Food & Media

This course examines the intersectionality of food and the media, how food is portrayed on television, internet, podcasts or in movies. Topics in mass communication, journalism and film will be explored.




Foundation of Food Culture & Systems

This course examines the cultures of food, exploring how people use food to define themselves as individuals, groups, and societies, and how cultural concerns shape food. The course investigates the meaning and significance of food in different cultures, and how race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and religion influence food choices.


How can we understand the system that brings food from the field to the plate? What characterizes our current food system? What alternatives have existed in the past and might exist in the future? This course will examine these questions, using a variety of investigative tools to better understand food systems and commerce.




Registration is available for Spring 2020.

All course descriptions are in the Dillard University 2019-2020 catalogue.

For more information contact








2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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