You are what you eat! Eating and food are an integral part of our daily lives, whether we’re grabbing a quick meal on the run, sitting down for fine dining, or having a family meal. There has been an explosion of interest in food in the media—from books to reality TV competitions to travel documentaries to blogs and apps. But food is not just a basic human need; it’s also a social and cultural means of expression and interaction as well as a pressing environmental issue. Karen Tongson teaches a popular May-mester module on food culture and food politics. Join her to explore how our food choices shape us, our communities, and our planet.
Karen Tongson, Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies, joined the USC faculty in English and Gender Studies in fall 2005. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to USC, Tongson held a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship in Literature at UC San Diego, and a UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) Residential Research Fellowship at UC Irvine. Tongson's work on popular culture, queer studies, performance, music and literature has appeared in numerous journals. Her latest book project, a truly polymathic endeavor, Empty Orchestra: Karaoke. Critical. Apparatus. offers a critique of prevailing paradigms of originality and imitation in aesthetics and critical theory, while exploring karaoke cultures, technologies, techniques and desires. She has also taught a Maymester course on Food Culture and Food Politics that includes visits to farms, restaurants, and more throughout California and the Pacific Northwest.