ID 222 - The Political Economy of Food and the Ethics of Eating
Is it possible to eat in an ethical fashion in world with more than seven billion people? What would this entail? And what are the likely consequences of our choices upon others as well as the environment?
This course examines the evolving political-economy and ethics of food production, distribution, and consumption and its effects upon our ecosystems, animal welfare, worker safety, consumer health, and cultural identities. Course readings introduce different theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches to the study of what we eat. They range from: historical accounts to food exposés and detailed empirical studies to forecasts of what we will eat in the future. All of them are provocative and they provide us with the opportunity to develop critical perspectives on the following:
1)The development of a global food system and the industrial techniques used to sustain it: confinement livestock operations, genetic homogenization, fisheries and aquaculture, and (trans-) national supply chain management;
2)Contemporary debates over food safety: genetically modified organisms, oversight mechanisms, regulatory regimes, famine prevention and humanitarian relief;
3)The possibilities and limits of ethical alternatives: organics, locavore, fair trade, biotech, and food sovereignty.
Anticipated Terms Offered: Fall