Feast or Famine: Exploring the Culture, Politics, and Sustainability of Food (CBL)

Sandhya Ganapathy
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. (CBL: Community Service Required)
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the SS general education requirement

Food is such an integral part of our lives that many of us take it for granted. We don’t really have to think about what we eat or where our food comes from. However, many factors go into determining what we eat or whether we eat at all including: geography, cultural ideals about taste and nutrition, economic systems, the media, multinational corporations, agricultural subsidies and international trade policies. In this class, we will examine how each of the factors works together to create both situations of overabundance (feasts) and relative food deserts (famine). We will consider the ways that hunger is not simply a natural phenomenon caused by natural disasters or a basic lack of food but rather the product of structural inequalities and lack of access. To do this, we will utilize a range of sources including documentary and popular films, scholarly tracts and memoirs. In addition, CBL placements with local food-related agencies will serve as an additional experiential research text. Drawing upon these insights, students will conduct independent research projects exploring local food systems in Northern NY. Students will present their finding through written, oral and poster presentations.