Anthony Bourdain: the College Course
October 10, 2018 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Bourdain's influencers, movies and literature, infused his work. There's no doubt Bourdain's profound influence on how we view the world as travelers, as storytellers, as both outsiders and insiders, as consumers — of food, culture and media — will stir thoughtful discourse for years to come. But if you're a student at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, you'll have a chance to discuss all things Bourdain — and earn college credit for it — as early as 2019. Professor Todd Kennedy, the head of the university's film studies program, is teaching a new class entitled "Anthony Bourdain and His Influencers" next spring.
posted by MovableBookLady (8 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
I desperately need this as a MOOC.
posted by bfranklin at 4:20 PM on October 10


This is definitely one of the only things that could get me to sign up for the Learning Annex (which this is not anyway).
posted by rhizome at 4:33 PM on October 10


That's a really interesting lens through which to create a course. Take someone who is widely regarded as a key figure in their field, and discuss both what they contributed to their field and also the work of the people who shaped and influenced them. I like it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:01 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]


I just might be able to do this but probably not until a few more years have passed. I can't even watch the latest series. I started to watch the Kenya episode and just couldn't manage it, it's still too raw.
posted by unliteral at 5:30 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


I keep forgetting and then I get reminded. I'm happy this course will exist but I still hate the reason why it exists now.
posted by nfalkner at 12:46 AM on October 11


I've been watching "Parts Unknown" recently and have been struck by how unusual Bourdain was. If I had been asked what nationality of presenter would be best at credibly fronting a show which focussed on the worlds niche cuisines and their associated cultures - then "American" would have been low on my list (fellow Brits, likewise). So many American and British presenters behave as if their culture was the only one to be taken seriously and that all others should be seen only in terms of how they compare. When they travel to Brazil they go to Rio de Janeiro rather than Belo Horizonte or Salvador: they find the most obvious dishes that we might have heard of - and then they come up with "souvenir" recipes with ingredients we are likely to be able to find at home. They show us Sugar Loaf Mountain and carnival rather than scary mountain roads, local elections, and markets featuring strange animals with their feet still attached. More promising - surely - would be national of a lesser known county - a well travelled person with mixed Peruvian/Vietnamese heritage perhaps?

But Bourdain (and his crew) pulled it off and made a superb show. I think that is because of his years of experience working in New York kitchens - sharing the conflicts/ drudgery and highs with every of nationality of the world. It seems to be all about having a culture of reaching out to "foreigners" and trusting them as friends - of taking a real interest in what makes them tick - starting (why not?) from what they like to eat. The world badly needs more people with that outlook - so it is a great idea for course, I think.
posted by rongorongo at 1:28 AM on October 11 [9 favorites]


If I had been asked what nationality of presenter would be best at credibly fronting a show which focussed on the worlds niche cuisines and their associated cultures - then "American" would have been low on my list (fellow Brits, likewise). So many American and British presenters behave as if their culture was the only one to be taken seriously and that all others should be seen only in terms of how they compare

I don't know, there is something perhaps to the idea that an American or Brit who's developed an allergy to empire and exceptionalism might be well suited to such an endeavor for seeing the malignancy behind those beliefs. It's undoubtedly a rare gift, but if one is starting from the place deemed the "best" in the world and sees the flaws of that belief, then it might be easier to open up to all other areas as the weight of competition is lifted. There's no need to emphasize one's own culture since it is already so rampant and known, leaving all that has been missed or not given its due to capture one's interest instead.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:00 AM on October 11 [4 favorites]


They show us Sugar Loaf Mountain and carnival rather than scary mountain roads, local elections, and markets featuring strange animals with their feet still attached.

My favourite Bourdain moment was during the No Reservations episode 'Peru', at the point where he took ayahuasca. I sat back in satisfaction and thought to myself, "This guy doesn't give a fuck!" In the best way.

The episode's current summary on Wikipedia is amusingly circumspect: "Then he travels to a village in Tambopata, the Peruvian jungle, and tries piranhas and goes through unique experiences." :-D
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 2:03 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


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