Beck has taught in a variety of disciplines: American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, African-American Studies, and English. While she uses varying pedagogical strategies, there is always an emphasis on her holy trinity of teaching: experience, application, and creation. A firm believer in combining theory with action, she incorporates service-learning work into courses when appropriate and creates assignments that develop research and technological literacies.
AM 101W: Eating in America
This course is an interdisciplinary analysis of the evolution of American cuisine, foodways (these are diverse) and food politics. Beginning with Native American foodways and the impact of colonization on them, we will study regional food patterns of the colonial period, consider the development of distinctively American styles of cooking and eating in the 19th century with special attention to the effect of immigration, and explore the impact of science, business, technology, globalization and changing family patterns on U.S. food in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Allowing that food is a window into American identity, we will explore important questions such as: How does food—what we eat and how we procure it—inform individual and collective identity? How do various forces like politics, international affairs, the economy, technology, and culture shape access to certain foods/ingredients? How does who we are, that is our sociological positioning, e.g., female, Latinx, poor, or queer, shape food pathways? What are the cultural representations of minorities—sexual, gender, race, and otherwise—in food advertising? Course assignments (mostly papers because this IS an expository writing course) will introduce students to American Studies as discipline and practice, develop research literacies, and improve written and oral communication. Students will wrap up the course by flexing their technological muscles to create an original vodcast (video podcast) that educates the broader public about concepts/theories/histories learned throughout the course.