Friday, October 27, 2006

UAB Food and Culture Class Fall 2006

A pig on the earth oven, Lau Group, Fiji (Photo by S. Jones)

Food practices and beliefs are an integral part of every culture. This Fall I am teaching a Food and Culture class at UAB from a cross-cultural perspective. This course is designed to present a broad view of the role of food in human culture through time and in a variety of geographic settings. We meet twice a week to discuss classic and contemporary articles about food, watch films, take field trips, and enjoy wonderful food brought by the students.

Some of the wonderful foods that we have enjoyed include: casarole, brownies, pinwheel cookies, cherry turnovers, a dark fermented brewed beverage, and Dreamland Bar-b-q with all the fixings!





This week we had a guest speaker, Dr. Gregory Mumford who lectured on Ancient Egyptian Foodways.


Last week we took a fieldtrip to the Jones Valley Urban Farm, a non-profit farm in Birmingham, Alabama, which seeks to enhance the environmental, economic and social health of the Birmingham area by promoting locally grown organic food and community activism. Check out their website: http://www.jvuf.org/about.shtml

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Summer Study Abroad UAB-Fiji

Liku Village, Lau Group, Fiji (Photo by S. Jones).

I'm teaching a summer Study Abroad course focused on the Fiji Islands through the University of Alabama at Birmingham during Summer B” of 2007 (July 8-Aug. 4). This class is open to undergraduates and graduate students (from UAB and elsewhere) who want participate in a mixed format classroom and field-based study.

Course description: This course is an intensive 6-credit class designed to introduce students to the people and culture of Fiji and Oceania. A survey of the cultural development of the peoples of Oceania as seen through the disciplines of history, archaeology, and anthropology will form the foundation of this class. This course is mixed format, including lecture and field research. Students will first meet at UAB for classroom lectures and discussion and then travel to Fiji as a group, where we will immerse ourselves in Fijian culture.

Nayau Island, Fiji (Photo by S. Jones).

The class (ANTH 247 and ANTH 490-491/ 492-493) will emphasize interactions between humans and the environment and is designed to introduce students to the ways that ecological, historical, economic, and cultural phenomena are connected. A particular focus on Fiji will include travel to the Fijian islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Taveuni. We will visit Fiji’s capital, Suva, the Fiji Museum, and attend lectures at the largest University in the Pacific Islands, the University of the South Pacific. Outside the city, students will engage in cultural and eco-tours lead by the instructor and local guides as they explore FijiÂ’s rich flora, fauna, and culture history in areas where few tourists visit. Archaeological sites such as hilltop fortified villages, caves, and ancient battle-grounds will lend insights into the past. We will investigate the regionÂ’s abundant and diverse marine life through snorkeling and sea kayaking around Taveuni’s amazing coast and small offshore islands. Forest and beach hikes will provide opportunities to observe waterfalls, interior lakes, rainforests, and tropical wildlife. Students will also engage in traditional cultural activities at remote villages including partaking in Fijian feasts.

COURSE OBJECTIVES
This Study Abroad Program has three goals:
1) This course will provide students with in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of the Pacific Islands, especially the Fijian Islands.
2) Students will be exposed to tropical ecology (both terrestrial and marine) and learn first hand about Fiji’s flora and fauna, ecological diversity, and conservation issues.
3) This course it is expected to engender an appreciation and understanding of cultural and ecological diversity among the student participants.

Please contact me if you are interested in enrolling in this class. Email: sharynj@uab.edu
Iguana on a tree, Lau Group, Fiji (Photo S.Jones).


A house platform along the Sigatoka River, Viti Levu, Fiji (Photo S.Jones).