Courses with Significant Food or Agricultural Content

Please note, some courses have prerequisites or major restrictions.

Introductory courses

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Human Ecology
Environmental issues are also cultural and political conflicts, between competing social groups, economic interests and cultural paradigms. This course introduces students to human ecology, the study of how our adaptations to the environment are mediated by cultural differences and political economy. Topics include: how ecological anthropology has evolved as a subdiscipline, with a focus on systems theory and political ecology; how ritually regulated societies manage resources; how rural communities deal with environmental deterioration; and how contradictions between environmental protection, economic development, and cultural values complicate so many ecological issues. (Any 100-level ANTH, or any 100-level ENVS,or ENVS AP credit or instructor permission) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

The Anthropology of Food
Food not only sustains bodies, but also reflects and shapes cultures, social identities, and systems of power. In this course we examine the relationship between food and culture. Beginning with an examination of the origins of cooking, we will go on to analyze a variety of approaches to understanding the food/culture/society relationship. These include the symbolic meanings of food, the role of food in constructing social and cultural identities, and the relationship between food and political and economic systems. Our examples will be cross-cultural (Africa, South and East Asia, Europe, and the Americas). 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

AAL, CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Science of Environmental Systems
We will utilize a systems approach to study selected environmental topics as we learn how to integrate scientific principles of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. We will also explore intentionally interdisciplinary approaches such as socioecological and regenerative systems frameworks. In lecture, we will take a more global approach as we examine climate change, water, energy, biodiversity, ecosystem services, pollution, and agriculture. We will discover emerging knowledge that is shaping potential solutions and learn how to evaluate such efforts through a systems science lens. In the lab units, we will investigate local manifestations of human-environment relationships through experiential, hands-on, embodied approaches. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Middlebury's Foodprint: Introduction to Food Systems Issues
Food systems encompass all activities, people and institutions determining movement of food from input supply and production (on land and water) through waste management. The dominant U.S. food system is responsible at least in part for some of the nation’s most troubling environmental and health challenges. What do we eat at Middlebury? What difference does it make? How do we know? We will examine impacts of how Middlebury sources and consumes its food, and disposes of food waste, as a lens to understand sustainable food systems and how they can be achieved. (formerly INTD 0280) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Food Power & Justice
Students in this course will learn to analyze power and justice in relation to the food system. We will explore cases in which groups of people are experiencing injustice in opportunities to make a living through food production or other food system activities, inequitable access to food and resources, inequitable health outcomes related to diet (e.g., diabetes, obesity), and silencing or lack of political participation. Students will investigate organizations of their choice that are working to remedy inequitable power relations in the food system, and will present their findings to the rest of the class. (formerly INTD 0281) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Land and Livelihoods - From Local to Global
How do flows of money, people, materials, and ideas connect local livelihoods to distant sites and global processes? How do geographers study patterns of poverty and inequality at different scales? How do we define human development and wellbeing, how do we determine who participates, and why does it matter? In this course we will draw from perspectives in fields ranging from development geography and political ecology to post-colonial studies to examine livelihood dynamics in the Global South. We will use texts, interviews, writing assignments, problem sets, and mapping exercises to explore relationships between economy, identity, and place in an increasingly connected world. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Electives

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Devouring Difference: Race and Food
In this course, we will discuss how the connections between food and race are articulated at different moments in United States history. We begin with an exploration of the relationship between slavery, capitalism, and food. We then discuss how foods like bananas and spam have functioned as objects that forge colonial, imperial, and military relationships between the United States and various sites around the world. The course ends with a discussion of contemporary politics around food by centering racialized subjects situated within both national and global markets of food production, marketing, and consumption. Informed by queer theory, this course foregrounds the centrality of embodiment and desire when interpreting the connections between food and race.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Asian American Food Studies
In this course we will discuss how food shapes a sense of belonging and identity in Asian America. Going beyond how Asian American cultures are consumed through food items and restaurants, we will focus on how Asian Americans have defined themselves through food. Required readings will engage questions about the production, circulation, and consumption of food. We will critically engage the genres of memoir, recipe books, fiction, historical accounts, cultural criticism, and food criticism as we write pieces in each of these styles. There will also be a limited amount of cooking involved in the course. (Approval only)

Terms Taught

Winter 2023

Requirements

AMR, CW, NOR, SOC, WTR

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Course Description

The Anthropology of Food
Food not only sustains bodies, but also reflects and shapes cultures, social identities, and systems of power. In this course we examine the relationship between food and culture. Beginning with an examination of the origins of cooking, we will go on to analyze a variety of approaches to understanding the food/culture/society relationship. These include the symbolic meanings of food, the role of food in constructing social and cultural identities, and the relationship between food and political and economic systems. Our examples will be cross-cultural (Africa, South and East Asia, Europe, and the Americas). 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

AAL, CMP, SOC

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Food Security in Lebanon
In this course we will begin with a short history of Lebanon’s agrarian to urban transition to look at its contemporary food system, asking such questions as: Who profits from the food system? How viable is agriculture in Lebanon? Does this system provide food security? This course will provide students with an understanding of how global and local political/financial systems have extracted wealth from farmers, and have left the Lebanese in a state of fluctuating food insecurity. We will look at commodity chains, crop selection, markets, farmer to farmer relations, and the role of Syrian crops entering the country. We will draw on the work of NGOs, UNEP reports, media, policy papers, and the academic literature. (ENVS 0112 or GEOG 0100 or IGST 0101 or ANTH 0103; Or by instructor approval) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

AAL, MDE, SOC

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Course Description

Ecology and Evolution
In this introduction to ecology and evolutionary biology we will cover the topics of interspecific interactions (competition, predation, mutualism), demography and life-history patterns, succession and disturbance in natural communities, species diversity, stability and complexity, causes of evolutionary change, speciation, phylogenetic reconstruction, and population genetics. The laboratory component will examine lecture topics in detail (such as measuring the evolutionary response of bacteria, adaptations of stream invertebrates to life in moving water, invasive species and their patterns of spread). We will emphasize experimental design, data collection in the field and in the laboratory, data analysis, and writing skills. This course is not open to seniors and second semester juniors in the Fall. 3 hrs. lect./disc./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

DED, SCI

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Course Description

Biology of Plants
An introduction to plants, their life cycles, and their relationships to each other, as well as to the animals that pollinate them, disperse their fruits, and eat them. We will discuss morphology, physiology, evolution, and natural history of plants (mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, angiosperms). The laboratory will emphasize plant identification, various aspects of plant ecology and physiology, plant morphology, and plant use by humans. Students will complete a Community Service component, such as completing a forest inventory for a local forest, assisting with the campus tree map, or help with seed-saving measures at the College Organic Garden. Field trips will be the norm early in the semester. (BIOL 0140 and BIOL 0145) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Entomology
Insects are one of the most successful animal groups on Earth, accounting for roughly 75% of all animal species. In this course we will examine several aspects of organismal biology in insects and related arthropods, such as comparative anatomy, physiology, reproduction, development, sensory behavior, and evolution. Hands-on experiences with insects will occur in the field and the lab, culminating in an independent research project. Special topics will include medical and veterinary entomology, insect pest management, and the effects of climate change on insect populations. Oral and written reports are required. (BIOL 0140) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab (Not open to students who have already taken BIOL 0201.)

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Plant Community Ecology
This course will explore the structure and dynamics of plant communities, with a particular emphasis on temperate forest communities. We will investigate patterns in community diversity and structure, explore how plant populations and plant communities respond to environmental disturbances, and investigate the effects of anthropogenic influences (climate change, introduced species, habitat conversion) on plant communities. Labs will emphasize fieldwork at local research sites, and will provide exposure to techniques of experimental design in plant ecology and basic approaches to describing plant community structure and dynamics. (BIOL 0140) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Environmental Chemistry & Health
In this course we will investigate the relationship between molecular structure and the behavior of chemical pollutants in natural and built environments, the science underlying health effects of toxic exposures, and environmental justice concerns associated with pollutant exposures. Through readings and active problem solving, we will examine the chemistry governing global transport and partitioning of chemicals among soils/sediments, waters, the atmosphere, and biota (including humans), as well as contaminant remediation strategies. We will study foundational principles of environmental toxicology and take a case study approach to identifying patterns of environmental injustice. In the laboratory, we will apply methods for monitoring pollution, understanding pollutant behavior, and assessing toxicity. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab (ESCH majors only, others by waiver only.)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Health Economics and Policy
In this course we will focus on the health care system of the United States. We will apply standard microeconomic tools to the problems of health and health care markets. The course provides the fundamental tools with which to understand how the health care market is different from the markets for other goods. For example, students will learn about the dominant presence of uncertainty at all levels of health care, the government's unusually large presence in the market, the pronounced difference in knowledge between doctors and patients, and the prevalence of situations where the actions of some impose costs or benefits on others (e.g., vaccinations, drug research). (ECON 0155) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, CW, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Economics of Agricultural Transition
In 1860 farmers made up over half the population of this country and fed about 30 million people. Today they number 2% of the population and produce more than enough to feed 300 million people. In this course we will look at the history, causes, and results of this incredible transformation. While studying the economic forces behind the changing farming structure, we will examine farm production, resources, technology, and agricultural policy. Field trips to local farms and screenings of farm-related videos and movies will incorporate the viewpoint of those engaged in agriculture. (ECON 0150 or ECON 0155) 2hrs. lect., 2 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Economics of Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the poorest and some of the fastest growing economies in the world. In this course, we will explore the opportunities for sustained, inclusive economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, the challenges that must be overcome in realizing these opportunities, and the policy options for overcoming these challenges. Topics may include demography, institutions, infrastructure, agriculture, urbanization, climate change, health, natural resources, mobile technology, trade, and regional integration. Students will be exposed to relevant economic theory and recent empirical economic research on Africa. (ECON 0150 and ECON 0155)

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Environment and Development
Climate change, air pollution, tropical deforestation: there is little doubt that economic development affects, and is affected by, the global and local environment and natural resources. In this course we will explore the complex relationship between environment and development using the theoretical and empirical tools of applied economic analysis. We will begin with pioneering research papers on the empirics of economic growth, examine the macroeconomic evidence, and then move to the micro foundations of the poverty-environment nexus. Major topics will include the resource curse and environmental Kuznets curve hypotheses, approaches for understanding responses to climate variability and disasters in poor communities, management of natural resources in smallholder agriculture, choosing policy instruments for pollution reduction, conservation, and environmental protection, and relationships between human health and the environment. We will conclude with a number of selected topics and issues of contemporary policy relevance. (ECON 0111 (formerly ECON 0210) and ECON 0255 or IPEC 0240 [formerly ECON 0240]) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Earth’s Oceans and Coastlines
In this course we explore our planet’s oceans and coastlines through the interdisciplinary study of marine geology, physics, biology, and chemistry. We use these fields as lenses through which we examine our reliance on the oceans for climate stability, food, economic resources, and waste dispersal, among a host of other ecosystem services. In parallel, we explore how humans are fundamentally altering coastal and marine ecosystems, posing unequally distributed, but increasingly severe threats to ocean and human health. In labs, we learn quantitative data visualization and analysis techniques making use of real-world observations and datasets.3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips (formerly GEOL 0161)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

DED, SCI

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Course Description

Water Resources and Hydrogeology
Fresh water is the most fundamental resource sustaining life on the planet. In this course we examine all elements of the hydrologic cycle, focusing first on precipitation and surface water flow and then on subsurface flow. We study examples from across the globe to understand factors influencing water quality and availability, and apply mathematical approaches to quantify constraints on sustainable use. The consequences of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts to the hydrological cycle are examined, and current issues and policies are discussed in light of increasing demands on water resources and associated natural systems. (ENVS 0112 or any 0100-level ECSC course) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab (formerly GEOL 0355)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

DED, SCI

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Course Description

School Lunches
In this course we will chew through critical analysis on the production and consumption of school lunches. We will examine how diverse actors—state and national governments, big corporations, food service companies, celebrity chefs, community activists, and concerned parents—battle over what lands on the cafeteria tray. Using readings from the social sciences as well as food documentaries, we will explore how initiatives like school gardens and cooking classes shape child development and socialization. The laboratory component of this class will look beyond the U.S. context by making and eating meals served up to students around the world. Food preparation and consumption practices will be adjusted, as necessary, to comply with COVID restriction guidelines.(There will be a $50 lab fee for this course to cover the cost of ingredients needed for making school lunches from around the globe.)

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Science of Environmental Systems
We will utilize a systems approach to study selected environmental topics as we learn how to integrate scientific principles of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. We will also explore intentionally interdisciplinary approaches such as socioecological and regenerative systems frameworks. In lecture, we will take a more global approach as we examine climate change, water, energy, biodiversity, ecosystem services, pollution, and agriculture. We will discover emerging knowledge that is shaping potential solutions and learn how to evaluate such efforts through a systems science lens. In the lab units, we will investigate local manifestations of human-environment relationships through experiential, hands-on, embodied approaches. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Navigating A Toxic World: Environmental Health in Your Daily Life
Have you ever wondered how the environment around you impacts your health? Environmental health scientists study how water, air, food, and the built environment affect wellbeing. In this class, we will explore environmental health topics relevant to our daily lives, including what’s in “BPA Free” water bottles, the science and politics behind your waterproof raincoat and mascara, and whether organic foods are actually better. We will also explore themes of environmental justice because who you are and where you live determine your environment and, in turn, your health. We will engage in lecture, discussion, and a semester-long project on environmental health in your daily life. 3hrs lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Gender Health Environment
Growing concern for the protection of the environment and human health has led policy makers and scholars to consider ways in which gender, class, and race and other forms of identity mediate human-environment interactions. In this course we will explore how access to, control over, and distribution of resources influence environmental and health outcomes both in terms of social inequities and ecological decline. Specific issues we will cover include: ecofeminism, food security, population, gendered conservation, environmental toxins, climate change, food justice, and the green revolution. We will draw comparisons between different societies around the globe as well as look at dynamics between individuals within a society. The majority of case studies are drawn from Sub Saharan Africa and Asia, however some comparisons are also made with the United States. 3 hrs. lect. (FemSTHM)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

CMP, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Social Class and the Environment
In this course we will explore the consequence of growth, technological development, and the evolution of ecological sacrifice zones. Texts will serve as the theoretical framework for in-the-field investigations, classroom work, and real-world experience. The Struggle for Environmental Justice outlines resistance models; Shadow Cities provides lessons from the squatters movement; Ben Hewitt's The Town that Food Saved describes economy of scale solutions, and David Owen's The Conundrum challenges environmentalism. Texts will guide discussions, serve as lenses for in-the-field investigations, and the basis for writing. We will also travel to Hardwick and Putney, Vermont, to explore new economic-environmental models. (Not open to students who have taken ENVS/WRPR 1014)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Contested Grounds: U.S. Cultures and Environments
Throughout the history of the United States, Americans have created a complex set of meanings pertaining to the environments (wild, pastoral, urban, marine) in which they live. From European-Native contact to the present, Americans’ various identities, cultures, and beliefs about the bio-physical world have shaped the stories they tell about “nature,” stories that sometimes share common ground, but often create conflicting and contested understandings of human-environment relationships. In this course we will investigate these varied and contested stories from multi-disciplinary perspectives in the humanities—history, literature, and religion--and will include attention to race, class, gender, and environmental justice. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR

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Course Description

Environmental Health
In this course we will explore the science underlying reciprocal relationships between human health and the environment, with emphasis on health inequities and vulnerable populations. Through the context of the four pillars of environmental health (exposure assessment, epidemiology, toxicology, and risk assessment), we will study common types of chemicals found in consumer products, climate change and air pollution, food and nutrition, and characteristics of the built environment. We will engage in discussions and a semester-long project to apply principles of environmental health as we explore connections between personal actions and local as well as global impacts. (ENVS 112 and BIOL 140 or BIOL 145 or CHEM 103 or CHEM 107) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2024

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

Human-Environment Relations: Middle East
In this course we will begin with an environmental history of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, asking such questions as: How does politics affect conservation practice? To what extent are formulations of nature constructed socially and politically? Whose rights are affected by protected areas and who decides governance criteria? The objectives of this course include providing students with an understanding of human-environment relations theory by addressing the regional specifics of modern environmental and social histories of these countries. We will look at animals, water, and forests in the literature of NGOs, UNEP reports, media, policy papers, and the academic literature. (One of the following: ENVS 0112, GEOG 0100, IGST 0101, SOAN 0103; Or by approval) (not open to students who have taken FYSE 1523) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

MDE, SOC

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Course Description

Approaching Sustainability From the Roots
In this course we will explore root causes of environmental problems through systems and emergent ways of approaching ecology, philosophy, the economy and mainstream media. It begins from the premise that humans are born belonging to animals, plants and the rest of nature - connected to our instincts - but that we are conditioned immediately away from this inter-dependence. We will work to understand how we can overcome this state of being by considering indigenous thinkers and eastern philosophers. We will read Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kate Raworth, George Lakoff, Gary Snyder, Peter Senge, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Wes Jackson and others. The texts will be complemented by an exploration of current and emergent practices in the private sector through partnerships with non-profits and government agencies. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

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Course Description

From Social Justice to Environmental Justice
We will examine environmental justice cases in the context of the social justice movements that have preceded them, paying particular attention to how these earlier movements have influenced the challenges and tactics of environmental justice today. Drawing on the work of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and others, we will explore the roles race, class, gender, and religion have played in confronting poverty, racism, and violence. We will then investigate contemporary environmental justice movements, using case studies to explore how these movements are rooted in, as well as distinct from, social justice movements of earlier periods (ENVS 0215 or any 100 or 200 level course in Religion or by permission) (not open to students who have taken ENVS 1028)

Terms Taught

Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, NOR, PHL

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Course Description

Water: From Fish to PFAS
In this team-taught course we will focus on water in the U.S. from the perspectives of natural science and policy. Three general themes, two of which map onto major environmental laws, will guide the course: clean water (Clean Water Act), drinking water (Safe Drinking Water Act), and dams. We will examine questions of human / non-human equity concerns throughout the course, from pollutants (e.g., PFAS and lead) to aquatic ecosystem health. Students will engage in major experiential, societally-connected projects. A major goal of the course will be to demonstrate the interplay of different ways of knowing. (ENVS 0211 or ENVS 0112 or GEOL 0255) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

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Course Description

Natural Fermentation: Engaging the Wild Microorganisms that Surround Us
This course will immerse students in the scientific, historical, and practical pursuit of food fermenation. Fermentation is the earth's first biotechnology and method of preserving energy. This course will explore natural fermentation techniques, parameters for safety and troubleshooting in a hands on lab while also contextualizing fermentation in terms of biological and cultural evolution and health and nutrition. This traditional approach takes advantage of natural processes to the greatest extent possible, using biological rather than purchased inputs. In this course we will engage wild, tamed, and unaccounted-for microorganisms as we naturally pickle, culture, bake and sour vegetables, wheat and milk to create favorites such as pickles, sourdough, kombucha, kefir, yogurt and cheese.

Terms Taught

Winter 2024

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Anthropology of Meat: Why Humans Consume Other Animals
Why are some animals taboo to eat? Can it be ethical to eat meat (and how is “ethical” defined)? In this course, we will explore meat eating practices around the world, focusing on issues like sustainability, race, and gender. Key texts include Nadasdy's 2007 article "The Gift in the Animal," Boisseron's Afro-Dog (2018), Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990), and Ko's Racism as Zoological Witchcraft (2019). Through a variety of texts, films, and guest speakers--including food discrimination lawyer Thulasi Raj and Vermont slaughterer Mary Lake--we will explore our own relationships to meat eating, while questioning what it means to be human. This course does not seek to persuade you towards or away from vegetarianism; all experiences are welcome.

Amanda Kaminsky is a PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Michigan and an alumna of Middlebury College (Class of 2013, B.A. Chinese)./

Terms Taught

Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Vermont's Farms, Food & Future
What crops make sense to grow in Vermont? Where is the best land to farm? Who owns land and capital, and who grows the food? What systems and interests shape the answers to these questions? In this course we will examine Vermont agriculture through lenses of climate change, racial equity, and socioeconomic viability. Through reading, discussion, and meeting with food system practitioners, students will understand intersecting and conflicting perspectives related to agriculture and land use. The final project will be a proposed policy, program or enterprise that would contribute to the agricultural future each student believes in for Vermont.

Jeannie Bartlett ‘15 grows fruit trees in Plainfield, Vermont. From 2016 through 2021 she managed the Franklin County Conservation District, where she developed and implemented programs to assist farmers with stewardship of soil and water in northwest Vermont. She serves on the board of Rural Vermont and is an active member of the VT Young Farmers Coalition. She studied Conservation Biology at Middlebury./

Terms Taught

Winter 2022, Winter 2023, Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

The Global Environment
This course will provide an introduction to the study of the physical environment, with an emphasis on how environmental systems interact. The first half of the course will focus on Earth’s climate, specifically, Earth’s energy budget, the greenhouse effect, global wind and weather patterns, and global ocean circulation patterns. The second half of the course will focus on patterns and processes of the Earth’s surface by examining global patterns of vegetation and the creation of landforms by fluvial, glacial, and aeolian processes. We will use this foundation to understand how our rapidly changing climate will alter each of these systems. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

DED, SCI

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Course Description

Land and Livelihoods - From Local to Global
How do flows of money, people, materials, and ideas connect local livelihoods to distant sites and global processes? How do geographers study patterns of poverty and inequality at different scales? How do we define human development and wellbeing, how do we determine who participates, and why does it matter? In this course we will draw from perspectives in fields ranging from development geography and political ecology to post-colonial studies to examine livelihood dynamics in the Global South. We will use texts, interviews, writing assignments, problem sets, and mapping exercises to explore relationships between economy, identity, and place in an increasingly connected world. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Rural Geography
This course explores the intersection between demographic, economic, cultural, and environmental forces on the rural landscape in both advanced economies and LDCs. Students will be exposed to theoretical and empirical approaches to rural development in different international and regional contexts, as well as problems associated with these development paradigms. Particular attention will be paid to neoliberal economic policies and their impacts on rural areas, and the course will frequently draw on examples from New England and North America. Additionally, the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, so we will examine the ways people come to know rural areas through the media, literature, and travel. This course includes opportunity for service learning. (Formerly GEOG 0221) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Environmental Change in Latin America
This course examines Latin America from a geographical perspective with emphasis on the social, political and ecological underpinnings of change in the region. Building upon the theme of global environmental change in the context of human-environment geography, we will explore urgent challenges linked to the agricultural and extractive industries, urban expansion, land grabs, land reform, indigenous rights, and rural and urban poverty. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Applied Remote Sensing: Land Use in Sub-Saharan Africa
Satellite images are indispensable for mapping forest cover, agriculture, and other land uses. Off-the-shelf products struggle to capture features in complex landscapes, such as fine-scale forest changes, urban sprawl, or small agricultural fields. In this course we will focus on sub-Saharan Africa to investigate select land uses with remote sensing techniques, discuss their social contexts, and practice novel approaches for generating land use maps. Students will be actively engaged in carrying out analyses and critical interpretations throughout the semester. Their work will culminate in a web-based portfolio, which will provide an opportunity to learn effective communication of research findings. (GEOG150 or GEOL0222 or by instructor permission) GEOG 120 is recommended 3 hrs. lect./3hrs lab.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

Requirements

DED, SAF, SCI

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Course Description

Seminar in Human-Environment Geography: Landscapes in Transition
What will Vermont look like in 100 years? What about the Brazilian Amazon, the Albertine Rift, or your home town? In this seminar, we will explore the ways that processes of change discussed in our thematic Geography classes like urbanization, climate change, gentrification, commoditization, 'globalization', and more may interact and play out in the future. We will discuss studies of historic and ongoing landscape transitions and conduct our own studies of student-selected places, focusing both on the changes most likely to occur given existing trajectories, and attempting to imagine and articulate what changes would be desirable. (Open to senior majors only; others by waiver) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Seminar in Geographies of Climate Change Adaptation and Development
Rapid anthropogenic climate change cannot be fully mitigated, requiring humans to adapt to changing climate conditions. How will developing countries with high sensitivity and few resources manage to adapt to a changing climate? Geography is uniquely suited to research social dimensions of climate change by integrating human and physical geography in the traditions of hazards, human-environment systems, and political ecology research. In this seminar we will contrast approaches to three related concepts: resilience, vulnerability, and adaptation. We will review their use in current academic research and literature, international climate negotiations, and adaptation planning and financing in least developed countries. We will culminate the seminar with independent research into a particular case of planned climate change adaptation in a least developed country. (Senior majors only, or by approval)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2024

Requirements

AAL, CMP, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Earth’s Oceans and Coastlines
In this course we explore our planet’s oceans and coastlines through the interdisciplinary study of marine geology, physics, biology, and chemistry. We use these fields as lenses through which we examine our reliance on the oceans for climate stability, food, economic resources, and waste dispersal, among a host of other ecosystem services. In parallel, we explore how humans are fundamentally altering coastal and marine ecosystems, posing unequally distributed, but increasingly severe threats to ocean and human health. In labs, we make use of the college’s research vessel, the R/V Folger, and learn quantitative data visualization and analysis techniques. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

DED, SCI

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Course Description

Surface and Ground Water
Fresh water is the most fundamental resource sustaining life on the continents. This course is an introduction to the study of water and its interactions with the geologic environment. Basic hydrological processes such as precipitation, stream flow, and the subsurface flow of ground water are analyzed by quantitative methods. Climatic and human-induced changes in the hydrological cycle are examined, and current issues and policies are discussed in light of the increasing demands and impacts of a technological society on water resources and associated natural systems. (ENVS 0112 or any 0100-level Geology course) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

DED, SCI

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Course Description

Global Health
This course provides an introductory survey of the basic issues and initiatives in contemporary global public health, demonstrating the inextricability of public health problems from the social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental issues that exist in an era of globalization. Examining these connections will enable us to critically evaluate the goals and strategies of public health interventions, and discuss factors impacting their success or failure. To do this, we must also examine the lens through which the West views public health problems as they relate to our cultural beliefs, biomedical views of health, sense of justice, and strategic interests. (Not open to students who have taken INTD 0257 or SOAN 0267) (GHLT minors, others by waiver.) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

History of US Food Politics
In this course we will use U.S. food politics as a lens for understanding developments in political economy, changes in the role of the state, and evolving attitudes toward gender, race, labor, childhood, citizenship, health, and the body during the twentieth century. How have government, corporations, and scientists shaped U.S. foodways? How have people been affected by broad trends in food politics, and how have they resisted, as consumers, citizens, and activists? To answer these questions, we will use methods of social and cultural history to explore food politics from the top down and the bottom up. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Food in the Middle East: History, Culture, and Identity
In this course we will examine the rich culinary history of the Middle East from the time of major Islamic Empires, such as the Abbasids and Ottomans, until the modern period. Using an array of primary and secondary sources, we will explore the social, religious, literary, and economic place of food in the region. We will study the consumption of and attitudes toward specific foodstuffs, gauging the relevance of items like spices and coffee in the pre-modern period and of various dishes within modern nationalist constructions. We will also investigate how Middle Eastern peoples from different ethnic, geographic, and religious backgrounds have historically used food to express their distinct cultural, national, and gendered identities.(Counts for HSMT credit) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2025

Requirements

AAL, CMP, HIS, MDE, SOC

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Course Description

Vermont Life’s Vermont: A Collaborative Web Project
Students in this course will work collaboratively to build an online history project aimed at a wide audience. Since 1946, Vermont Life magazine has created particular images of the landscape, culture, and recreational possibilities in the state. Our goal will be to construct a website that examines the evolution of these images and the meaning of the state over time, paying particular attention to consumerism, the environment, tourism, urban-rural contrasts, local food movements, and the ways that race, class, and gender influence all of these. The course is open to all students and requires collaborative work but not any pre-existing technological expertise. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR

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Course Description

Animals in Middle Eastern History
In this course we will examine attitudes towards animals in Middle Eastern history, with an emphasis on Muslim settings. We will survey the law and ethics of human-animal relations in religious sources and engage with issues such as how humans differ from non-human “animals,” how they should treat animals, and the overall place and roles of animals in divine creation as reflected within different historical periods. We will also consider the impact of the modern animal liberation movement in the Middle East and examine a variety of religious and secular positions formulated by Muslims that have recently prioritized animal welfare and promoted environmental consciousness. (Counts for HSMT credit) Pre-1800. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

CMP, HIS, MDE, SOC

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Course Description

Climate Action for All: Foundations, Paths, Skills
Vermont and China flooded, smoke from Canadian fires, record-breaking heat waves. Climate change is here with deeply unequal impacts. Yet there’s so much to do to reverse the tide while fostering adaptive, resilient communities. Everyone has a part to play. In this course, students from all backgrounds and interests will develop a baseline understanding of climate science, impacts, and approaches. Students will assess how the needs of the climate crisis match up with their own skills and passions. Hearing directly from stakeholders and leaders through lectures, discussions, and workshops, students will explore the many paths to just climate action. They will leave with an improved understanding of what kind of action is needed, where action is happening, and what their roles might be, all coupled with an enhanced skills toolkit. Pass/Fail

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

WTR

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Course Description

Literary Feasts: Representations of Food in Modern Narrative (in English)
This course will consider food and eating practices within specific cultural and historical contexts. We will analyze realistic, symbolic, religious, erotic, and political functions surrounding the preparation and consumption of food. Readings will be drawn from several national traditions, with a focus on Europe. Authors will include, among others, I. Dinesen, L. Esquivel, J. Harris, E. Hemingway, T. Lampedusa, P. Levi, C. Petrini, M. Pollan, E. Vittorini, and B. Yoshimoto. Viewing of several films where food and eating play an important role will supplement class discussion.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

A Culinary History of Italy (in Italian)
In this course we will examine the role of food in society by investigating the history of Italian cuisine and the ever-changing issues relating to food and foodways, through books, articles, films, and recipes. What did the Ancient Romans eat? What was Italian cuisine like before pasta and tomatoes? How did production and consumption change over time? Through such questions we will examine what culinary choices tell us about today’s Italy and how they are strictly intertwined with the search for a national identity. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1344 or ITAL 1003) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

EUR, HIS

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Course Description

Time Around the Table: A Culinary History of Italy
In this course food will be our guide in the exploration of Italian history and culture. The choices that a nation, in our case Italy, made and makes about issues surrounding food tell us about identity, be it social, national, regional, ethnic, or religious. We will examine a number of questions: What do we mean when we talk about Italian food? What did one eat in Ancient Rome or during the Renaissance? And what about today? What are the historical events that have shaped what we have in mind when we say “Italian food”? And what about “Italian-American” food? (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1344).

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

EUR, HIS, WTR

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Course Description

With Flavor: Food and Brazilian Culture
In this course we will focus on the food being produced and consumed in Brazil in its relation to Brazilian culture and history. Topics include how food and Brazilian culinary practices are related to certain aspects of Brazilian society, such as the Northeast’s landed oligarchy, Afro-Brazilian culture in Bahia, regional, national, and transnational identities, women and gender constructs, and the experience of hunger. Narratives (fictional, non-fictional, and theoretical) will be drawn from different media: printed and online texts as well as audio-visual materials, such as songs and popular music videos, films, TV series and cooking programs. The course will also entail preparation and degustation of Brazilian dishes. (PGSE 0215 or by approval) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, LNG, SOC

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Course Description

International Political Economy
This course examines the politics of global economic relations, focusing principally on the advanced industrial states. How do governments and firms deal with the forces of globalization and interdependence? And what are the causes and consequences of their actions for the international system in turn? The course exposes students to both classic and contemporary thinking on free trade and protectionism, exchange rates and monetary systems, foreign direct investment and capital movements, regional integration, and the role of international institutions like the WTO. Readings will be drawn mainly from political science, as well as law and economics. 3 hrs. lect./disc./(International Relations and Foreign Policy)/

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

The U.S. Politics of Race, Gender, and Class
Race, gender, and class have long shaped American politics. They have formed the basis for social movements, have structured institutions, and have affected the way political actors–from voters to activists to elected officials–have made their day-to-day decisions. What do political scientists know about the roles that race, gender, and class play in politics, separately and together, and what do we yet have to learn? (PSCI 0102 or PSCI 0104) 3 hrs. sem. (American Politics) /(Critical Race Feminisms)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Global Civil Society: Towards the Globalization of Human Rights?
This course examines the growing and changing roles of non-governmental actors in international politics. We will begin by asking whether there is such a thing as a global civil society and examining its components. We will then focus on specific issue areas of civil society activism, including human rights, women’s rights, the environment, humanitarian aid, racism, and migrants and refugees. The course aims at providing students with both a conceptual and empirical framework so they can form an opinion about the existence, functions, transformative potential, and challenges faced by civil society activism in an increasingly globalized world.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Food in East Asian Religions
One might think that food and eating have nothing to do with the lofty concerns of religious traditions. In fact, many religions bring their fundamental principles to bear on the questions of what, how, and with whom to eat; many also revolve around “feeding” gods and other spiritual beings. In this course, we will examine East Asian religions through the lens of eating practices. We will study Confucian feasting and fasting, various Chinese, Korean, and Japanese rituals offering food to ancestors and gods, Buddhist vegetarianism and its critics, unusual Taoist eating regimens, and the ancient cosmological ideas underlying traditional Chinese medical ideas of healthy eating. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

AAL, NOA, PHL

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Course Description

Sociology of Labor
In this class we will survey the sociological literature on labor and labor movements in America and around the world. We will raise questions related to the organization and transformation of work, the making of class society, trade unionism and other class-based organizing, and the impact of globalization on labor organizations. Exploration of these key themes will happen through an analysis of classic and contemporary texts, as well as fiction and film. This is a seminar-style course with opportunities for students to lead class discussions and debates. (formerly SOAN 0201) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

SOC

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Upper Level Seminars

The following 300- and 400-level interdisciplinary courses have been pre-approved by the Food Studies Director because they directly focus on food systems or on resources essential for food systems.

If you have other 300 or 400-level courses you would like to propose for your upper level seminar they must first be approved by the Director. Generally, if an upper-level course does not include “food” or “food systems” in the title or description, you are expected to focus on food or agricultural issues in your term paper or other discretionary assignments.


 

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Soils and the Environment
Soils constitute the fundamental link between atmosphere, water, biota, and rock. Knowledge of the physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in soils is essential when assessing natural cycles as well as anthropogenic alterations to those natural cycles. In this course, we will analyze a wide range of issues, including soil formation, climate, soil mineralogy, soil fertility and nutrient cycling, sediment pollution, soil contamination, water pollution, sediment erosion and deposition, and implications for land-use planning. Labs will be project-oriented and will consist of a combination of fieldwork and instrument analysis. (any ECSC 0100 or ENVS 112, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab (formerly GEOL 0357)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

SCI

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Course Description

The Perennial Turn
The work of repairing Earth—response-ably attending to life-nourishing human and more-than-human interrelationships—starts at scales of self and community. Power dynamics, thoughtways, humans and planet Earth changed when our ancestors began annually disrupting soil ecosystems and storing surplus food. We explore notions of perennial thinking and action through readings, direct experience, and work with local partners at the forefront of the perennial turn. Combining ancient and contemporary knowledges in science, history, philosophy, spirituality, and more, we investigate thinking more like a prairie than a plow. How might we regrow deep roots and craft ways that align with current understandings of Universe, Earth, life? In the Spring 2023 semester we will focus on healing and food systems.3 hrs. sem.,

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

PHL

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Course Description

Global Political Ecology
From global land grabs and agrarian revolutionary movements to clashes over energy infrastructure and the establishment of protected areas, today’s “environmental issues” are suffused with political relations and deeply entangled with the historical formations of capitalism, colonialism, the state, and science. In this seminar we will analyze how “social” questions of power, political economy, and social struggle, pervade the “natural” (and vice versa). Such questions are invariably messy and full of surprises, confounding reduction to universal theories extended from afar. Often, they require a close in-the-weeds look. That is what this class will invite you to do. The field of political ecology offers a rich repertoire of approaches for developing empirically grounded, historically contextualized, and theoretically nuanced forms of analysis that grapple with the situated complexities of resource and environmental issues. (ENVS 0208 or ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Transnational Feminist Conservation
In this course we explore a transnational feminist approach to conservation. We will start by delving into the masculinist history of conservation, and reviewing a set of theories and vocabularies focused on gender, as well as race, class, and ability as key sites of power that effect both human and non-human bodies and ecological processes, from coral reefs to the arctic tundra. We will compare case studies across multiple regions globally on topics such as conservation via population control, feminist food, community-based conservation, and feminist-indigenous approaches to inquiry. We will debate feminist science, examining the conflicting epistemic foundations of objective versus situated knowledge. We will hone our writing skills in a variety of genres including blogs, academic essays, poems, and zines. (ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215 or ENVS/GSFS 209) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Fall 2023

Requirements

AAL, CMP, CW, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Agroecology
In this course students will learn about agroecology as a set of practices, a philosophy, and a social movement. Agroecology takes advantage of natural processes to the greatest extent possible, using biological inputs rather than purchased pesticides and fertilizers. In addition to having major benefits for poor farmers in developing countries, it is attracting increased attention as an alternative to industrialized agriculture in wealthy countries. The course will include field trips to farms, films, and discussion of readings. We will leave between noon and 12:30 for some of the field trips, so don’t register for a class immediately before. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

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Course Description

Food Policy
Food policy is about how decisions are made in the food system, affecting who eats what, who grows food and how.  In this course, we will investigate important current topics in food policy, such as issues under consideration by the U.S. Congress (e,g., the Farm Bill, Child Nutrition Reauthorization); the United Nations; or other organizations.  Using a range of readings and academic background sources on food policy, students will debate contentious issues affected by policy (antibiotic resistance due to livestock feeding practices, incentives for healthy eating, limits on concentration in agribusiness, food safety rules, etc.).(formerly INTD 0312) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

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Course Description

Hunger, Food Security & Food Sovereignty
Why have no countries—including the U.S.—been able to ensure universal food security, even though more than enough food is produced for everyone? To examine this question, we will analyze historical famines, the "food price crisis" of 2008, and debates about how to address hunger and food insecurity including calls for food sovereignty. We will read Julian Cribb's The Coming Famine as well as other sources. Students will select international or domestic food security as their emphasis, and examine an organization trying to tackle hunger and food insecurity. This course is open to juniors and seniors. (formerly INTD 0480) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Health, Food, and Poverty: Critical Frameworks for Social Change
Concerns around food, health, and poverty often intersect around the world, and pose shared challenges for countries in how to address them. What frameworks might maximize social impact in addressing such complicated global concerns? In this capstone course for students interested in privilege and poverty, global health, and food studies, we will critically examine a variety of frameworks for social impact, including solidarity, responsibility, development, aid, and entrepreneurship. Our examination of these frameworks will necessarily involve critical comparisons among the countries in which they have been employed. We will identify goals, strategies, and assumptions within each framework, as well as our role in social transformation in conjunction with other actors. Students will engage in interdisciplinary theoretical analysis and employ one or more frameworks to develop a proposal for a project on social change. (By approval only.) 3 hrs. Sem (Comparative Politics)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Ecocriticism and Global Environmental Justice
Many global environmental problems—climate change, biodiversity, deforestation, clean water, and transboundary waste movement—are ineffectively managed. In this course we will take a critical look at these failures and ask: do existing norms and attitudes make effective, sustainable environmental management more difficult? In doing so, we will examine institutions and phenomena such as the sovereign nation-state, free market capitalism, and the authority of scientific knowledge. We will ask whether sustainable management is compatible with these institutions and phenomena, or whether they contribute to environmental injustice, racism, political marginalization, and gender and class inequity by studying contemporary and historic examples. 3 hrs. sem. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

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