If you've ever read a college course catalogue, you know there are all sorts of delightful and unexpected classes lurking in its pages — but perhaps none can compete with a class on tacos. That's right: You can now study tacos at the University of Kentucky, because everything is beautiful. Especially tacos. This might be even better than that university that lets you major in pizza.
The class, named “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the U.S. South," is an undergraduate course taught by Steven Alvarez, an assistant professor in the university’s Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies department. The aims of the course are to "explore the history and networks of Mexican and Mexican American food in the United States," including looking at "rhetorics of authenticity, local variations to preparation or presentation, and how food literacies situate different spaces, identities, and forms of knowledge."
All of that sounds genuinely fascinating — and also delicious.
Alvarez first got the idea for the class while working with the Southern Foodways Alliance. "After going to one of their symposiums, it really hit me that food is important," he said in an interview with Vice. "The oral histories of food that I heard were amazing. The stories were really impactful but the food became secondary. It was more about the social connections that people were making with food."
He continued, "You can go to the smallest towns in Appalachia and there will always be a Mexican restaurant. It is really interesting to see how Mexican food has evolved socially here. This class allows our students to explore the issues of immigration, inequality, workers, intercultural communication, and literacy through the prism of food."
So I now officially want to take this course.
As part of the course, students will be reading Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, Tacopedia, Taco USA, and Tortillas: A Cultural History. If, you know, you'd like to do your own independent taco study. And it's not just reading — homework assignments also include things like eating at a restaurant and writing a review, posting on Instagram and learning to archive, and even going on taco tours. By the end of the course, students will have a portfolio of food journalism clips and, as Alvarez told Vice, they will also "be over the fajita stage of Mexican food."
So if you're planning to transfer to the University of Kentucky, I don't blame you right now. But for those of us not lucky enough to study tacos, I suppose we'll have to wait for National Taco Day in order to have this level of tacos in our lives.