Having a Lot on Our Plates:
An Introduction to the Sociology of Food and Nutrition
Location: 232 Warren Hall
Instructor: Andrea Woodward, email@example.com
Office Hours (outside Manndible): Tuesday 9-10 a.m., Thursday: 11:30-12:30 and by appt.
In this course we will explore the role of food in society, the consequences of our diets on
producers, the planet and human health, and some recent emerging alternatives. As the title
suggests, I intend for this course to get students thinking critically about the food they consume
every day—its significance beyond the nutrients it contains, the processes by which food is made
available to them, and the consequences these have for producers, consumers, and society as a
Emphasis will be on the social, political, economic, and philosophical influences on and
repercussions of the way we eat.
The course will also include an introduction to the
“sociological imagination” and basic sociological concepts, such as social structure, agency,
class, and inequality.
This course is a writing-intensive seminar and will require that you write
about topics explored in class, review the work of your peers, and utilize campus resources in
place to help students improve writing skills.
It will also include readings by and discussions
about food writers who have been recognized for their work.
The course weaves together the study of food with basic sociological concepts and the practice
of writing in an intensive seminar format. Students will write a total of five papers and maintain
a blog related to key themes explored in readings, you will review the work of peers as part of
one of these assignments, and you will also read and discuss the work of food writers who have
been recognized for the quality of their writing.
In addition to these assignments, students are
also strongly encouraged to make at least one visit to the Knight Writing Center’s walk-in
service for guidance on a draft.
By the end of the this course, students will have knowledge about:
what the sociological imagination, structure, and agency are and what their relevance is
to the food system.
various components of the food system, from production to processing to distribution
the cultural importance of food and the symbolic roles it plays in society.
the politics of food, dietary advice, food safety, and food-related illnesses.
hunger, obesity, and eating disorders as social problems.
By the end of this course, students will improve their ability to:
Read and write analytically
Apply a sociological framework for understanding why we eat the way we do.
Be reflective about their place and role in the contemporary food system