Sociology 482/582: Sociology & the Global Politics of Food
Professor: Dr. Tracy E. Ore
Welcome to the homepage for Sociology 482/582. In this course we will examine the various sociological and political dimensions of food. Atkins and Bowler note, “the study of food is rather like a ‘barium meal’ for X-raying social, political, economic and cultural issues, a kind of marker dye for broad structures and processes. In this sense food is the bearer of significance, as well as a material object of consumption.” (Food in Society. 2001:vii) In sum, food will serve as a mechanism through which we will examine larger structural issues in society.
As we examine the questions “Where does our food come from, and how does it get to our tables?” we become aware of how little knowledge we have of the processes involved in producing and distributing our food. As Barndt notes, when we examine these questions, “we open a Pandora’s box…whose hands have planted, cultivated, picked, packed, processed, transported, inspected, sold, and cooked it?” (Tangled Routes. 2002:2) How do these processes relate to structures of power and inequality? How is our disconnect from food and processes of production, consumption, and distribution impacted by as well as reflected in our disconnect from the communities within which we live? We will explore these and many other questions this semester.
Class Materials Class Photos
Sociology 482/582 Syllabus (pdf format) Photos of field trip to the St. Paul Farmer's Market
Class Assignments Class photo of the Gold'n Plump Factory Tour
Putting the SCSU Community Garden to bed
Additional Class Readings Photos of "Slow Food" field trip to Minneapolis & St. Paul
Final Class Potluck

Politics of Food "Facts & Actions" Sheets: Fact sheets on many of the things that we consume

2012 Final Projects

From beef and eggs, to coffee and soda

2009 Final Projects

From rice and pork, to nutraceuticals and aspartame

2008 Final Projects

From bread and camel, to water and wine

2007 Final Projects

Acorns (yes, acorns!) and avocados to wheat and yerba mate

2006 Final Projects

Hot dogs and fast food to beer and vodka

2005 Final Projects

Coffee and eggs to water and breast milk

Why Food Matters

Click here to view the top 20 reasons why food matters,
as prepared by students in the 2009 Sociology & the Global Politics of Food Class.

Food Security & St. Cloud, Minnesota

During the fall of 2007, students from this course endeavored to understand whether a Community Food Assessment would benefit the residents of St. Cloud.  This proposal to community stakeholders indicates the necessity for such an assessment and illustrates why a food security charter would ensure the adequacy, stability, and accessibility of healthy, culturally-familiar food. To view a copy of their proposal, click here.

Sodexho: A Miscellaneous Account

A 2006 graduate student project exploring our campus food service

Food Information

American Community Gardening Association

The Edible Schoolyard

Food First

Hunger in the United States

Local Harvest


Slow Food USA

USDA Food Pyramid

USDA Food Security Resources

Food Commentary

An Alternative Look at the Food Pyramid

Biotech Wars

Bottled Water

The Environmental Justice Foundation: Why Prawns will Make You Sick

The Global Politics of Food

Grocery Store Wars

The Meatrix

The Trouble with Organics

Twelve Myths about Hunger

Purchasing books for this class? Go to Alibris, an excellent source for new and used books.
Site last updated: December 4, 2012
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