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Ken Albala

Professor of History, Chair of Food Studies


Phone: 209.946.2922
Website: Ken Albala's Food Rant


Wendell Phillips Center 240


PhD, Columbia University, 1993

MA, Yale University, 1987

BA, George Washington University, 1986

Curriculum Vitae 

Teaching Philosophy

I think the classroom should be fun and exciting and since I love telling stories, much of our time is spent doing just that, as well as discussing important events, individuals and long-term historical processes. We also read original sources and view contemporary images, learning how history is always a matter of interpretation. We learn to think critically about what historians have written about the past and how their ideas are shaped by their own interests and biases. The same body of evidence can be used to defend very diverse positions and rarely are there plain and straight-forward facts to be memorized. By getting our hands dirty with primary documents, we learn how to write history well, how to support an argument, and ultimately how to tell a good story. I also think that the skills one learns in my classes make students better researchers, thinkers and writers in whatever professions they decide to pursue. 

Scholarly Interest

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific and Director of the Food Studies MA program in San Francisco. He has authored or edited 23 books on food including Eating Right in the RenaissanceFood in Early Modern EuropeCooking in Europe 1250-1650The Banquet, Beans (winner 2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award), Pancake, Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food and Nuts: A Global History. He was co-editor of the journal Food, Culture and Society and has also co-edited The Business of Food, Human CuisineFood and Faith and edited A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance and The Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies. Albala was editor of the Food Cultures Around the World series, the 4-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia and the 3-volume Sage Encyclopedia of Food Issues published in 2015. He is also series editor of Rowman and Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy for which wrote Three World Cuisines (winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards best foreign cuisine book in the world for 2012). He has also co-authored two cookbooks: The Lost Art of Real Cooking and The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home. His latest works are a Food History Reader and a translation of the 16th century Livre fort excellent de cuysine. His course Food: A Cultural Culinary History is available on DVD from the Great Courses. In the fall 2015 his At the Table: Food and Family Around the World will the published. He is now working on a book about noodle soups. 


PACS 002 Pacific Seminar II "What is Good Food?"
HIST 010 Western Civilization I
HIST 011 Western Civilization II
HIST 060 A History of Medicine
HIST 061 A Global History of Food
HIST 100 Renaissance and Reformation
HIST 101 Tudor and Stuart England
HIST 102 The Spanish Empire