Trang X. Ta
Examines topics in sustainability. Includes social, political, historical, cultural, artistic, economic, or scientific explorations of sustainability issues.
Autumn 2010 Food Ideologies
Food is meaningful. In this course we approach the study of food and food culture to examine the ideological production of what we eat. Food is entangled in historical, political, economic, and social systems that shape our daily existence as individuals and as a society. Eating is a fundamental part of life because food is used to nourish and heal, mark celebrations, build community, and symbolize identity. However, food is also a source of anxiety and conflict. Stories of contaminated, adulterated, and genetically modified foods fuel social anxieties over the vulnerability of the food supply. The recent food riots in the developing world indicate a gross imbalance in a distribution system that creates fatal deprivation and wasteful abundance. Our exploration will focus on the history of the industrial production of food, the growth of urban agriculture and sustainable farming, the symbolic and medicinal utility of food, the ethics of eating, and the politics around food justice movements globally and locally.
Student learning goals
Understand the modern food system and how to change its devastating consequences to human health and the environment.
Gain awareness of local and global organizations involved with food production, food distribution, and food justice movements through course material and community-based service learning.
Develop research and writing skills through original student research.
Be a more thoughtful eater.
General method of instruction
Seminar style discussion with some lecture and films.
Open to all majors and backgrounds. Student participation is vital so be prepared to complete all the readings and actively engage in class discussions.
Class assignments and grading
Web-based assignments, student presentations, and a community-based service learning research project that requires volunteering at a local organization related to food issues for at least 20 hours.
Based on the quality of completed course assignments and participation.