This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2016-2017
POLS 13181-5: Food Politics
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Instructor: Susanne WengleHow food is produced, what foods we consume and the complicated ways it travels over long distances from farm to fork is emerging as an exciting new area of research. This U Sem will explore how politics, broadly conceived, shape global and national food production, consumption and regulation. For much of the 20th century, governments around the world sought to turn farms into factories. The human and environmental cost of this type of food production that maximizes yields and efficiency became the focal point of a diverse social and political movement that brought together consumers and producers in search of alternatives. Various critiques of the dominant political paradigm in agriculture and food have been taken up and examined across social science disciplines. Readings in this seminar will provide students with an overview of these debates. They address a range of issues related to the political economy of food and agriculture, from the politics of farm subsidies to the social and political categories we use to think about food systems. Texts address local, national and global aspects of the contemporary food system. Empirically, the class will familiarize students with domestic and global systems of food production and marketing. Theoretically, the class treats food as a lens to probe more fundamental questions about how we think about polities and economies. Students will work on a research project that asks them to maps a corner of the food system.