Taconomics

Tacos-de-Barbacoa

There is a class at the University of Kentucky called “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the US South.”  A syllabus typically includes a statement by the professor about what he or she hopes the students will learn in the class. In an interview, the Taco Literacy professor (Steven Alvarez) gives what might be the best all time class objective:

“At the very end of the course, my students will be generators of knowledge, have a portfolio full of multimedia food journalism, and they will be over the fajita stage of Mexican food.”

As for the books for the class, they look awesome too. Here is his description of the readings: “Our first book is Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food. Then we have the Tacopedia and Taco USA. Lastly, a book solely on tortillas called Tortillas: A Cultural History, because I try to break down to my students that a really good taco will always depend on the tortilla.”

Here is a link to the Taco Literacy website.  It is one of the most creative and fun class websites I’ve seen (granted, this is a low bar, but still…).  Each square is a click-able link to that day’s discussion. Some of my favorites are:  “The Tamale Trail of ….Mississippi,” “Sombreros and Mariachis,” and “Taco Literacy Around the Nation:  You’re famosos

You gotta love a syllabus that has this disclaimer all in caps!  “THOUGH TACOS ARE EXPLICITLY NAMED IN THE COURSE, THEY NEED NOT BE THE FOCUS FOR YOUR RESEARCH.”

I teach a class at OU called Mexican Economic Development.  While it has drawn a fair amount of students, imagine the number that would have enrolled had I taught Taconomics instead!

Fun with Maps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m teaching a Master’s level class for the first time this spring on Global Political Economy.  One of the sections we are going to cover is on immigration.  With all of Lant Pritchett and Michael Clemens’ great work on this topic, I actually have too much material for that section of the class.  I need to work to actually pare it down some.

Having said that, I do think I’ll add the following map to the syllabus.  It gives a very nice illustration of how big migration flows are across the world, much more so then just a bunch of numbers on their own. I’d like to have one in per-capita terms as well but this is a good start.

migration_flows

h/t Amazing_Maps