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English Cultural Landscape program takes a look at food

Students will experience history through their palates at the spring 2011 English Cultural Landscape program at Harlow.

By Janet Harron

This spring will see the thirteenth offering of Dr. Jerry Pocius’s English Cultural Landscape program at Harlow campus in England. Always a perennial favourite among undergraduates and graduates alike, the spring 2011 version of the program will have a slightly different spin.

“Food will be the overarching theme of this program,” said Dr. Pocius. “We will do everything we’ve always done in the past but everything we study will be linked to the production and consumption of food.”

Courses will deal more specifically with English food and the material culture (bottles, plates, glasses) associated with food.

“We’ll look at the changes in the kitchen over time and the emergence of the dining room. We’ll also look outside at historic farm outbuildings and their uses and at other buildings such as breweries and bakeries,” said Dr. Pocius.

In addition to the usual field trips to cathedrals, castles, country houses and museums, students in the 2011 program will visit a working windmill, the fishing village of West Mersea, and some of the oldest barns in Europe at Cressing Temple.

“Taking part in the 2009 English Cultural Landscape programme as a graduate student has been one of the most memorable experiences of my academic life so far. Every day felt like a “behind the scenes” tour of the English cultural world -- we really got a feel for English life both in the past and present. There is nothing superficial about this programme -- everything is in depth and engaging, which makes for a truly enriching cultural experience,” said Meghann Jack, a folklore master’s student.

An information session for the 2011 English Cultural Landscape program will take place Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. in ED-1002. Interested students can contact Dr. Pocius at or visit the website at