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First-Year Writing Seminar: Just Food: Sustainability and Survival

Semester and Year FA 2015
Course Number FIRST-UG415
Section 001
Instructor Nosheen Ali
Days TR
Time 4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


Humans have evolved over millennia, and yet it seems that the most pressing concerns of today remain connected to basic issues of survival. One such concern is that of food — our most primal need — and the way we relate to land and the environment. Are we consuming real “food” that provides nourishment or something else? Who has access to healthy food, and who gets to make decisions about how food is produced and distributed? How have our food habits and farming processes changed over time? And are we eating food or eating up the Earth? These are just some of the questions that we will carefully ponder, as we examine the relationship between food, agrarian history and sustainability from the perspective of global development studies. Students will cultivate their writing voice by working on three reflection papers and one longer, final essay, with guidance provided at each stage. The material for the course will be drawn from a variety of disciplinary approaches including history, sociology, political economy, and environmental studies. Amongst other texts, we will read selections from Wendell Berry’s  Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food , Vandana Shiva’s  The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology, and Politics  and Deborah Barndt’s  Tangled Routes: Women, Work, and Globalization on the Tomato Trail.  The course will also feature guest lectures from farmers and sustainability thinkers who are actively pursuing a just, food order in the New York area.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)