Food is central to human life. It is therefore no surprise that the research interests of faculty and students across a wide range of disciplines relate to food in some way. In the social sciences and humanities, for example, scholars examine issues including food access and affordability as well as the cultural significance and representation of food and agriculture. In the natural and applied sciences, researchers explore the biological and ecological dimensions of food systems and food-related health issues. For decades, scholars working in these various fields have highlighted important aspects of food’s key position in the human experience over time and across space. Too often though, these streams of inquiry have stayed relatively isolated from one another.
The UO Food Studies Program developed out of a growing recognition that an integrated perspective on food matters is vital to developing fuller understandings of complex food-related issues. Food Studies brings the power of an interdisciplinary approach to widely varied food themes and topics. Such an approach is more than the sum of its disciplinary parts; it provides new insights into the ways in which food mediates social, political, environmental, cultural and economic processes.