Themester 2014 speakers and events invite you to 'Eat, Drink, Think'

Students and faculty explore 'Food from Art to Science'

  • Sept. 8, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A talk by New York Times food journalist and author Mark Bittman and a host of courses, lectures, films and exhibitions will explore the complex world of food as part of Themester 2014: “Eat, Drink, Think: Food from Art to Science.”

Each fall, the IU College of Arts and Sciences’ Themester initiative invites the Bloomington campus and community to explore an idea across the disciplines and from multiple perspectives. Exhibits, plays, invited speakers and service-learning activities provide opportunities for investigation and dialogue on the theme.

This year, Themester aims to provoke debate and discussion concerning the vast networks of peoples, technologies and environmental systems that make even the simplest meal possible. 

A selection of 2014 Themester highlights are listed below.

Bittman, one of the nation’s best-known and widely admired food writers, will address conscious eating and its global ramifications at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the IU Auditorium. Bittman is a New York Times opinion columnist and the lead food writer for The Times Magazine. His books include the bestselling "How to Cook Everything" series and the groundbreaking "Vegan Before 6 P.M. (VB6)."

Loren Cordain, a leading authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease, will talk about the evolution of the human diet at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall. Cordain’s popular and controversial book "The Paleo Diet" and subsequent sequels have intrigued both scientific communities and the public. He is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and abstracts, and his research into the health benefits of Stone Age diets for contemporary people has appeared in the world’s top scientific journals.

Claudia Roden, an award-winning cookbook author and cultural anthropologist, will give a talk titled “Couscous and Gefilte Fish: A Tale of Vanished Jewish Worlds,” at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Indiana Memorial Union, State Room East. Widely admired as both a great cook and a fine writer, Roden has written classic works on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cookery, including the award-winning "The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York" and "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon."

Themester will also partner with IU students to present Big Red Eats Green, an annual festival dedicated to educating the campus community about local foods. The festival will feature local growers and restaurants committed to sustainable practices, as well as campus and community organizations that are working to improve the food system every day. The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at the IU Art Museum.

IU Cinema’s Themester Film Series and a number of other series will present food-focused films, including "Babette’s Feast," Sept. 22; "King Corn," Oct. 13; "Like Water for Chocolate," Nov. 3; "A Place at the Table," Nov. 17; and "Big Night," Dec. 1. A full list of Themester-related films is available in the Themester calendar.

Bloomington’s Cardinal Stage Company will engage local youth in food and fun with the premiere of the lighthearted new musical "The Birthday Feast." The work features a book and lyrics written by Bloomington author Scott Russell Sanders, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English, and music written by local composer Alex Crowley. "The Birthday Feast" will run Oct. 10 to 26 at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium.

Many visual and cultural aspects of food will be celebrated at IU’s archives, museums and galleries throughout Themester 2014, including:

  • "Açaí From Local to Global," at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.
  • "Archaeology of Food" at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology.
  • "Book Bites: Texts that Influenced and Reflected How America Eats," at the Lilly Library.
  • "Eating and Drinking in East Asian Art," at the IU Art Museum.
  • "The Taste of Seduction," at the Kinsey Institute.

With the exception of theater events, Themester events are free and open to the public, but some require registration or tickets.

Related Links

Loren Cordain

Loren Cordain

Print-Quality Photo

This painting, "Still Life with Lobster," by Pieter de Ring, is on exhibit at the IU Art Museum and is an example of food is celebrated visually in art.

This painting, "Still Life with Lobster," by Pieter de Ring, is on exhibit at the IU Art Museum and is an example of food is celebrated visually in art.

Print-Quality Photo

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