Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A05. The Rituals of Dinner

Drawing upon theories from anthropology, religious studies, and psychology for “deciphering” the language of meals and their rituals – we [this FYS] will interpret some of the “great controversies” represented in ancient literary and contemporary cinematic accounts of banquets. We will examine ancient texts such as Genesis, Song of Songs, and Luke’s Gospel from the Bible, the Jewish Passover seder, and Plato’s Symposium, and contemporary films such as What’s Cooking?, Babette’s Feast, Tampopo, Like Water for Chocolate, and My Dinner With Andre. Much of the course the course is devoted to acquiring “book knowledge” about the meaning of meals. But another important way we acquire knowledge is through experience, so we will be engaged in food and performance related activities outside of class (in collaboration with another FYS) to gain “experiential knowledge” about what goes into a meal ritual.

Jonathan Brumberg-KrausJonathan Brumberg-Kraus
Professor of Religion