Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2017)

Volume 14 Issue 2

ISSN: 1524-6345

Teaching and Eating to Transgress:

Food as a Pedagogical Agent in the Anthropology Classroom


Micah Marie Trapp

Department of Anthropology

University of Memphis, USA

E-mail: mmtrapp@memphis.edu



Dvera I. Saxton

Department of Anthropology

California State University, Fresno, USA

E-mail: dsaxton@csufresno.edu




This article focuses on teaching anthropological concepts using food as

a pedagogical agent at two ethnically diverse and economically struggling college campuses. Building on hooks’ model of “teaching to transgress,” we discuss methodologies and learning outcomes of a specific exercise involving the creation, consumption, and contemplation of akutaq, or Inuit ice cream, and cupcakes. Moving beyond cross-cultural analysis, tasting exercises challenged social and hierarchical boundaries amongst students and between students and professors, making teaching and learning radical, empowering and exciting. Engaged and experiential learning can transgress students’ traditional roles as passive rote learners and can transgress teachers’ traditional roles as deliverers of knowledge. However, the outcomes of such exercises are not always predictable, not all students are open to alternative pedagogies, and not all institutions of higher learning are adequately equipped or resourced to facilitate unconventional teaching and learning methods.

Keywords: anthropology, cross-cultural analysis, experiential learning, first-

    generation undergraduate students, food as pedagogy,


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