Workload and Assessment
The assessment for this second-year module is as follows:
- seminar contribution (10%)
- commonplace book (10%)
- 3.000 word essay (40%)
- two-hour exam (40%)
Seminar contribution is assessed at the end of the year through a structured self-assessment. At the end of the year please complete this seminar contribution self-assessment form. The marking descriptors for seminar contributions are here. If you would like some interim feedback at the end of term 1, send me a self-assessment form in week 1 of term 2 and we can discuss it. This won't contribute to your actual mark but might be useful.
Part of your assessment will include a commonplace book. The thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the materials curated in the book will constitute 10% of the mark for the module.
The commonplace book replaces the 1500-word essay due in term 1. Instead of submitting an essay you should submit your commonplace book.
You may wish to maintain and update your commonplace book during the remainder of the module, as you might find it a useful place to record your ideas and thoughts as the module progresses.
What is a Commonplace Book?
A commonplace book is a scrap-book of words and images. You will need to be able to upload your commonplace book to tabula, so it will need, ultimately, to be in an electronic form. You can create a digital scrapbook or blog. You can also use a physical notebook, and then scan or photograph it to convert it into a digital file. Either is fine.
Whatever format you choose, use your commonplace book to record questions, stimulating quotations, diagrams or drawings, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other material inspired by the module. Both in and outside of class, fill these pages with ideas that you find stimulating in relation to food. Add diagrams or drawings or doodles; paste photographs or postcards or newspaper clippings. The commonplace book can also be used to document the progress of the practical experiments assigned in class.
Here is a good description of how to use a commonplace book, from the late 18th century:
"You will find it a good method to collect and write your thoughts upon any subject that occurs; for by repeatedly arranging and revising your expressions and opinions you may daily improve them, and learn to think and reason properly on every occasion. By this mean you may likewise provide yourselves with a fund of matter for future use which, without this assistance, the memory would not retain. It will be of great service to note down in your common-place book such particulars as you may judge worth remembering, with your own observations upon them. This will be a kind of an amusement which will exercise your thinking powers at the time, and, by recurring to it afterwards, it may afford you many useful hints."
The Boarding School, by a Lady of Massachusetts (Boston, 1798).
You can also, just for general interest, take a look at Lucia Dacome, ‘Noting the Mind: Commonplace Books and the Pursuit of the Self in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of the History of Ideas 65/4 (2004). (You'll need to sign in to access this article.)
For full details of examination and assessment, please see https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/students/modules/process/deadlinemap.
Some Areas You Might Explore in an Essay
These are some topics and general areas you might wish to explore.
These suggestions are IN ADDITION to the questions posed for each seminar, which you may also use as the basis for an essay.
Of course, you can also invent your own topic entirely!
Whatever you decide to explore, please arrange a meeting with me to talk through your ideas and to develop the structure of your essay once you have thought of some possible topics.
-- A history of baby food
--Use Barbara Wheaton's five-pronged approach to analyse a particular cookbook
--the history, politics or ethics of 'geographical indicators' such as Stilton, or Champagne
--the politics of the school dinner
--a 'commodity history' of a particular food such as codfish, or milk, or bananas
--what explains the current 'obesity epidemic'?
--Is the popularity of 'ethnic' foods indicative of positive attitudes towards immigration/multi-culturalism?
--can we use paelo-botany to analyse the early history of agriculture?
--analyse the historical significance of a cookbook of your choice
--the history of institutional foods (hospitals, prisons, armed forces, orphanages . . . )
--Which formulation do you prefer: food sovereignty or food security?
--the place of food in political and cultural movements (Black Power, Indian nationalism, 1960s Counter-Culture . . . )
--food and war (sieges, feeding armies, civilian provisioning)
--historical data on height and weight as a tool for analysing how well-nourished a people were in the past
--has fast food conquered the world?
--analyse a television cooking programme, past or present
--food in literature
An Idea: Consider the URSS!
If you are particularly taken with a topic and wish to explore it further, consider applying for to the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS).
The URSS provides funding and other support for you to undertake an extended research project over the summer vacation. It might fund you to travel to Mexico to research local restaurant culture, or to London to study 17th-century cookbooks in the Wellcome Library, or to Preston to interview your primary-school dinner lady . . .
- Module duration: Twenty-two weeks
- Lectures: Nineteen one-hour lectures
- Seminars: Nineteen one-hour seminars
- Revision: A one-hour revision lecture and a one-hour revision seminar
- Tutorials: Four hours of presentation feedback, essay feedback, and long essay preparation
- Total: Forty-four hours