Making Sense of Religion and Food

Authors

  • Emily Bailey Towson University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.32163

Keywords:

food, foodways, culture, community, scripture, Christianity

Abstract

When looking at eating beyond physical nourishment, British anthropologist Mary Douglas (1921-2007) defined food as a cultural system, or code that communicates not only biological information, but social structure and meaning. What can a study of food and faith teach us, as scholars of religion, that we might not otherwise know? This article outlines thematic and pedagogical approaches to teaching food and religion through the lens of five semesters of teaching this course to undergraduate and graduate students. In it, I explore the topics of Food memory and community; Food and scripture; Food, gender and race; and Stewardship and Charity, thinking about spiritual and physical nourishment in the world's major religious traditions.

Author Biography

Emily Bailey, Towson University

Philosophy & Religious Studies, Assistant Professor

References

Afroculinaria: Exploring Culinary Traditions of Africa, African America and the African Diaspora blog. https://afroculinaria.com.

Allahyari, Rebecca Anne. 2000. Visions of Charity: Volunteer Workers and Moral Community. Berkeley: University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520221444.001.0001.

Belasco, Warren. 2008. Food: The Key Concepts. New York: Berg.

Berry, Thomas. 2015. Dream of the Earth. Berkeley: Counterpoint Press, 2015.

Berry, Wendell. 2015. “The Pleasures of Eating.” In Food: A Reader for Writers, edited by Deborah H. Holdstein and Danielle Aquiline, 37–42. New York: Oxford University Press.

Davis, Ellen F. 2009. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Dodson, Jualynne E. and Cheryl Townsend Gilkes. 1995. “There’s Nothing Like Church Food: Food and the U.S. Afro-Christian Tradition: Remembering Community and Feeding the Embodied S/spirit(s),” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 63 (3): 519–38. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lxiii.3.519.

Doniger, Wendy, trans. 1991. The Laws of Manu. New York: Penguin Books.

Douglas, Mary. 1966. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203361832.

Fick, Gary W. 2008. Food, Farming, and Faith. Albany: State University of New York Press.

The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale. http://fore.yale.edu/.

Glassman, Bernard, and Rick Fields. 1996. Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Living a Life that Matters. New York: Bell Tower.

Hughes, Marvelene H. 1997. “Soul, Black Women, and Food.” In Food and Culture: A Reader, edited by Carole Counihan and Penny van Esterick, 272–80. New York: Routledge.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1997. “The Culinary Triangle.” In Food and Culture: A Reader, edited by Carole Counihan and Penny van Esterick, 28–35. New York: Routledge.

McClymond, Kathryn. 2006. “You Are What You Eat: Negotiating Hindu Utopias in Atlanta.” In Eating in Eden: Food and American Utopias, edited by Etta M.

Madden and Martha L. Finch, 89–106. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

McDannell, Colleen. 1998. Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America. New York: Yale University Press.

McGuire, Meridith B. 2008. Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172621.001.0001.

Meeks, Wayne A., ed. 1993. The Harper Collins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version. London: Harper Collins.

Pollan, Michael. 20007. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin.

Robinson, Sarah E. 2015. “Refreshing Concept of Halal Meat: Resistance and Religiosity in Chicago’s Taqwa Eco-Food Cooperative.” In Religion, Food, and Eating in North America, edited by Benjamin E. Zeller, Marie W. Dallam, Reid L. Neilson, and Nora L. Rubel, 274–93. New York: Columbia University Press.

Shiva, Vedana, ed. 2007. Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed. Boston: South End Press.

Stark, Rodney. 1965. “Social Contexts and Religious Experience.” Review of Religious Research 7 (1): 17–28. https://doi.org/10.2307/3509831.

Sultar, Jeff. 1998. “Adam, Adamah, and Adonai: The Relationship between Humans, Nature, and God in the Bible.” In Ecology and the Jewish Spirit: Where Nature and the Sacred Meet, edited by Ellen Bernstein, 19–26. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing.

Wall, Dennis, and Virgil Masayesva. 2004. “People of the Corn: Teachings in Hopi Traditional Agriculture, Spirituality, and Sustainability.” American Quarterly 28 (3–4): 435–53. https://doi.org/10.1353/aiq.2004.0109.

West, Candace, and Don H. Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society 1 (2): 125–51. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243287001002002.

Wilson, Jeff. 2014. “Mindful Eating: American Buddhists and Worldly Benefits.” In Religion, Food, and Eating in North America, edited by Benjamin E. Zeller, Marie W. Dallam, Reid L. Neilson, and Nora L. Rubel, 214–33. New York: Columbia University Press.

Zeller, Benjamin E., Marie W. Dallam, Reid L. Neilson, and Nora L. Rubel, eds. 2014. Religion, Food & Eating in North America. New York: Columbia University Press.

Published

2017-07-04

How to Cite

Bailey, E. (2017). Making Sense of Religion and Food. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 46(2), 18-24. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.32163

Issue

Section

Articles