Loyola to offer new food and femininity course

Photo+Illustration+by+Cristian+Orellana.+Photo+credit%3A+Cristian+Orellana
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Loyola to offer new food and femininity course

Photo Illustration by Cristian Orellana. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Photo Illustration by Cristian Orellana. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Photo Illustration by Cristian Orellana. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Photo Illustration by Cristian Orellana. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Emma Noble

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Food and femininity, a class with material centered around how modern women across many cultures often find themselves in a negative relationship with food, will take the format of an intense two-week session in the May term of the spring semester being offered for the first time.

Jaita Talukdar, an associate professor in Loyola’s sociology department, is set to teach the class.

“I have had a long-standing research interest in how food has defined femininity. I am very passionate about what I research, and in this course I will bring the same passion to my classroom,” says Talukdar.

Talukdar said that food and femininity will examine a multitude of things, one of them being the notion that while women are socially expected to desire food, they are also asked to regulate their eating to manage their health and body weight to meet ideal thinness and feminine beauty standards.

In the past, the sociology department has offered a course on the sociology of food and food justice, but unlike food and femininity, gender has not always been the focal point of the class.

“This course will uncover both structural and organizational aspects of food production and consumption, as well as the cultural tropes through which we come to desire and consume food, while not losing sight of how women are implicated in the process,” Talukdar stated.

Food and femininity will be presented in two parts. Students will be reading scholarship on food and femininity, as well as evaluating the scholarship in terms of their own personal experiences in the form of an overarching class project.

“The class will not only expose us to knowledge about gender and good, but also how knowledge is produced in social science research,” says Talukdar.

As well as exposing students to gender-related food issues, the course material will also give students first-hand experience in learning about interpreting and analyzing scholarly data.

Food and femininity ties directly into the social justice values of Loyola, highlighting socio-political and economic inequalities that directly affect society.

“Since the focus of this class is on women who are often the decision makers of where to procure food and how to distribute it to their family members, we will be able to see micro level impacts of macro level issues,” Talukdar said.

Talukdar said that this course will bring students closer to lived realities surrounding the topic of food and how they intertwine with issues relating to gender.

The rigorous two-week session will allow for a more intimate and personalized setting that sets it apart from other courses offered at Loyola and will give students the opportunity to interact with their faculty in a more engaged manner.

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