Posts Tagged ‘books’

I’m currently in the process of designing an undergraduate course on food and agricultural issues, which I plan to teach in a year or so. I have to prepare a syllabus now, because it will be part of an application to create a new environmental studies major at the institute where I teach. I’m really excited about this course, which I’m tentatively titling “Food, Farms and Famine.” Because I need to demonstrate the relevance to environmental studies, I may change the title to “Debating the Future of Food” or perhaps something that sounds even more environmental in focus.

I have lots of ideas about readings and assignments, and I’ve found this collection of syllabi an invaluable resource. But this will be my first time teaching such a course, and I could really use your (yes, dear reader, your) suggestions. There are two main areas where I need help:

1) Selecting short readings that are appropriate for a fairly unsophisticated audience. My students are not sociology majors – they are mostly training to be engineers, have fairly conservative views, and don’t know a lot about recent political and environmental history. I need to choose readings that won’t immediately alienate and confuse them, while still challenging them to look critically at agri-food systems, hunger, consumption, and the environment. Do any articles, essays, book chapters, websites, etc. spring to mind? Any texts you just love and wish more people would read?

2) Selecting recent, semi-popular books for a “book review” assignment. I’ll ask students to choose a book from a list. I have many in mind (there’s certainly no shortage of food writing lately), but I’d like to hear what your favorites are.

I’ll be grateful for your input! And I’ll be happy to share my syllabus once it is complete.


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