Taste, Place, Identity: Food Anthropology With Leigh Chavez Bush - Atlas Obscura Experiences
Gastro Obscura

Taste, Place, Identity: Food Anthropology With Leigh Chavez Bush

4 sessions
$220 per person
Up to 25 people
See Dates
$220 per person
$220 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this four-part seminar, we’ll explore how food takes on and creates meaning in our lives.

Course Description

Our food choices are infused with meaning. They tell stories about our histories and form the basis of our habits. In this course, we’ll ask the questions: How do our associations with food influence what we cook and how we eat, and how does cuisine in turn impact our emotions and shape our culture?

Over the course of four weeks, we’ll look at culture through the lens of food. Using the anthropologist’s toolkit as well as our own kitchens and communities as our primary laboratories, we’ll investigate how food and our senses interplay with feelings of lust and disgust, travel and curiosity, environment and geography, and identity. Along the way, we’ll uncover methods used by experts across the field of food studies from bio-anthropologists to gastrodiplomats and oenophiles. Through anthropological exercises, conversations about our culinary lives and those of others, and a final-session wine tasting, we’ll develop a layered and contextual understanding of our cultivated sense of taste and place and the emotional content that comes with it.

This course is intended to be a space in which we thoughtfully engage with food, meaning, culture, and emotion through an anthropological lens; we cannot offer counseling on topics such as substance abuse and/or disordered eating.

Gastro Obscura Courses: delving deep into the world’s culinary curiosities with expert instructors.

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes four total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.5 hours on four consecutive Tuesdays beginning March 29.

Session 1 (Tuesday, 3/29, 8:00–9:30 PM ET)| Where Food and Culture Meet: An introduction to food anthropology

Session 2 (Tuesday, 4/5, 8:00–9:30 PM ET)| Lust and Disgust: Understanding how physiological and cultural senses of taste interact

Session 3 (Tuesday, 4/12, 8:00–9:30 PM ET)| Food and Identity: Gastronationalism, culinary capital, and the role of tourism in cuisine

Session 4 (Tuesday, 4/19, 8:00–9:30 PM ET)| Food and Terroir: Wine tasting, appellations, terroir, and beyond

*This session includes a wine tasting. Students are welcome to participate regardless of whether they choose to purchase recommended wines, but please note that we are unable to offer an alternative to this tasting.

Between Sessions

Outside of class, we’ll discover truths about our own tastes using anthropological methods, building up to our final project: creating an anthropological food experience, which we’ll share with one another through our virtual potluck.

Course Materials

Students who wish to participate in the wine tasting should expect to purchase 2 bottles of wine, which should not exceed $40 total. Further information will be provided closer to the start of the class.

Pricing Options

In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and fully expect to attend all sessions. To learn more about our pricing model, please visit our FAQ page.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Leigh Chavez Bush
Leigh Chavez Bush

Leigh earned her PhD from Indiana University in Food Anthropology where she focused on food and media networks as they relate to contemporary chefs and restaurants. Since graduating she has found her way back to the Colorado mountains where she works in tech and writes a weekly happy hour column for the local publication Westword. She has taught several university courses from Interpersonal Communication to Wine Appreciation to Public Oral Communication, to which she always brings a little bit of food and feeling.

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.


Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions. 

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at experiences@atlasobscura.com if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Group Size

There are 25 spots available on this experience.

Who Can Come

One session includes an optional tasting of an alcoholic beverage; those who wish to participate must be of legal drinking age.

Dates and Availability

There are no upcoming experiences at the moment. Fill out the form below to be notified when we add new dates.

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