Bread Houses Network inspired the UMass Amherst



The University of Massachusetts Amherst inspired by the I3C initiative "Bread Houses Network" applied for and received a Mellon Foundation-sponsored Digital Humanities grant to fund the development of an undergraduate course, entitled "Gender and Bread:Embodied Gender Online". The course will be offered next Fall (2013) and leaded by Leda Cooks, Ph.D, Ohio University and professor of communications at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


The course will bring together the study of gender, culture, identity, and new social movements with the material practices of organizing, cooking and sharing bread with others in the community. Students in the course will learn about the various ways food and bodies intersect with identities, technologies and politics by working online and offline to build a local BREAD (bridging resources for ecological and art- based development) house.


One of the goals of the course would be to work toward the initiation of a BREAD House in the Pioneer Valley, Western Massachusetts and to explore the potential of the digital technologies in creating and sustaining a connected global network of BREAD Houses. 

Students will explore and challenge gender normativity and culture in relation to food production and consumption. Through readings that explore the private and public political practices of cooking, eating and feeding others around the world, the class will consider the symbolic meanings and attachments to place, body, labor, emotion, production and consumption, as well as the very material connections to the same. 

This class presents an unusual site to analyze food production, which is a traditionally done by women, and technology use which, research shows, is largely accessible to and more frequently used by men than women globally. At the same time, participating in the BREAD Movement offers a unique entry into bridging the humanities with activism and gendered limitations of community-based organizing.