Community, Food and Agriculture: A Survey
CSUS 811

Fall 2014

Wednesday, 11:30 to 2:20

Room 223, Natural Resources Building

Required Texts:
Carolan, Michael. 2012. The Sociology of Food and Agriculture. New York: Routledge
Ackerman-Leist, Philip. 2013. Rebuilding the Foodshed. White River Junction, VT:Chelsea Green.

Instructor: Phil Howard

316 Natural Resources

Office Hours: Wednesdays 10:30am to 11:30am and by appointment

Course Description: This graduate multi-disciplinary course in the Department of Community Sustainability examines a range of philosophical, environmental, socio-economic and political issues related to food and farming in the US. This course is designed as the introductory course for Community Sustainability students specializing in the area of Community, Food and Agriculture, as well as others interested in a wide variety of local, national and global food and farming issues. It also serves as an introductory social science course for students in the Ecological Food and Farming Systems specialization.

Key course themes that are addressed from diverse disciplinary and conceptual frameworks include: sustainability; American agrarianism; the industrialization and corporate control of US food and farming; food and globalization; localized and place-based agriculture; governance of the agrifood system; and, food democracy, security and sovereignty.

Course Objectives     

provide students with an overview of the literature addressing local, national and global issues in community, food and agriculture develop an understanding of various conceptual perspectives used to address issues in the area of community, food and agriculture, and develop a scholarly capacity for analyzing food and farming problems from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Course Approach The course is organized as a small seminar with a commitment to developing collaborative learning among all who participate. In the spirit of creating an intellectual community around community, food and agricultural issues, participants are encouraged to share their concerns about the learning environment and to shape our efforts to explore these issues.

Course Assignments Weekly readings/discussion/self-evaluation - 100 points

Critical review of a scholarly book (due Oct. 15) - 100 points

Final group project - 100 points

Weekly readings
- you are expected to come to class prepared to answer the following questions about the weekly readings:

1. what did you agree/disagree with the most? OR what did you find most useful?

2. what did the readings potentially leave out?

3a. what question(s) did the readings raise? 3b. what were you able to uncover about this question?
(This will require that you seek out and read at least one additional article or chapter in an effort to answer your question. It's OK if you're not able to answer the question, just share what you learned in the process.)

Critical review of a scholarly book
- choose a book addressing the topics of community, food and agriculture of interest to you. Read carefully and write a critical review of approximately 1000 words. You may choose from among the references in the Carolan text, suggestions in the assignment folder, or meet with me to discuss some possibilities you're considering. Be sure to look at a number of examples of book reviews in scholarly journals, such as Agriculture and Human Values, to get a sense of what is expected. Typical elements include bibliographic information, a brief summary of the book, a critique, and a suggested audience. Keep in mind the purpose of the review is to help readers decide if it is worth their time to read the book.

Group project
- You will form groups of ideally 3-5 to look at a problem, issue or opportunity related to community, food and agriculture and apply concepts from this course to analyze it. Your group will create a series of articles/blog posts, with an introduction written as a team, and additional articles written by each individual group member. The introduction and articles should include photos or other graphics in addition to text.


Sept. 3 - Introduction

Sept. 10 - reading: Carolan, Introduction and Part I

Sept. 17 - reading: Carolan, Part II

Sept. 24 - reading: Carolan, Part III and IV

Oct. 1 - reading: Ackerman-Leist, Chapters 1-5

Oct. 8 - reading: Ackerman-Leist, Chapters 6-10

Oct. 15 - reading: Ackerman-Leist, 11-14; Critical review due

Oct. 22 - "guest" Phil Howard
Draft chapters from Concentration and Power in the Food System
Oct. 29 - guest Paul Thompson, CSUS and Philosophy

Thompson, P.B. 2010. Sustainability as resource sufficiency, functional integrity and social stability. In Sustainability Ethics: 5 Questions. Edited by R. Raffaelle, W. Robison & E. Selinger. Automatic Press.

Thompson, P.B. 2012. Is sustainability worth debating? In Debating Science: Deliberation, Values, and the Common Good. Edited by D. Scott & B. Francis. Humanity Books.

Thompson, P.B. 2010. The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics. Chapter 4: The moral significance of the land: A lesson from The Grapes of Wrath. University Press of Kentucky.

Nov. 5 - guest Jim Bingen, CSUS
Giovannucci, Daniele, Tim Josling, William Kerr, Bernard O'Connor, May T. Yeung. 2009. Guide to Geographical Indications: Linking Products and Their Origins. International Trade Centre (ITC): Geneva. In addition, be prepared to apply/discuss how these ideas/principles are reflected by current members of the AOPA - This will require choosing several AOPA members and investigating them further.
Nov. 12 - guest Wynne Wright, CSUS
Wynne Wright; Alexis Annes. 2014. Farm women and agritourism: Representing a new rurality. Sociologia Ruralis.
Elizabeth Ransom; Wynne Wright. 2013. Constructing culinary knowledge: Reading rural community textbooks. Food, Culture and Society. 2013;16(4):669-689.
Wynne Wright; Alexis Annes. 2013. Halal on the menu? Contested food politics and French identify in fast-food. Journal of Rural Studies. 2013;32:388-399.

Nov. 19 - guest Laura DeLind, Anthropology and RCAH

DeLind, L.B. 2006. Of bodies, place, and culture: Re-situating local food. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 19: 121-146.

DeLind, L.B. 2011. Are local food and the local food movement taking us where we want to go? Or are we hitching our wagons to the wrong stars? Agriculture and Human Values 28: 273-283.

DeLind, Laura B. Forthcoming. Where Have All the Houses (Among Other Things) Gone? Some Critical Reflections on Urban Agriculture. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 1-5.
Dec. 3 - Synthesis and final projects

Dec. 10 - 10am to noon, Final Exam due