Fall 2010 (MW 2:30-3:45)
Instructor: Ken Cooper
Ecocriticism takes as its staring point the connections between human culture and the physical world, although many such relationships are invisible to us, if not willfully effaced. This course's mostly theoretical readings will enable you to become a more perceptive critic and writer along this convoluted interfaces. Selected topics will include the phenomenology of hunger; recovering upstate New York (bio-)regional literature; and the poetics of climate change. Plan on doing some non-traditional research and writing.
Fall 2010 (TR 03:30 pm-05:10 pm)
Instructor: Jordan Kleiman
This course examines the ways in which the production, distribution, and consumption of food fundamentally shaped the political, economic, social, and ecological structures of American society from the mid-19th century to the present. Of particular interest will be the ways in which these changes altered the power relationships not only among farmers, plants, animals, and the land, but also between the U.S. and less developed countries.
Spring 2010 (W 4:30-7:00)
Instructor: Jordan Kleiman
This senior seminar focuses on the politics of food in twentieth-century America. The “politics of food” refers not only to the economic and public policy initiatives that gave rise to America’s industrialized food system, but also to the efforts of grassroots movements to transform that system and redefine its underlying values. Politics, by definition, concerns relationships of power. In examining how such relationships have played themselves out in the modern American food system, we will pay particular attention to the moral reasoning of its various stakeholders, including farmers, corporate executives, consumers, workers, ethnic groups, feminists, agricultural reformers, scientific experts, politicians, and bureaucrats. Our examination of the American food system will be organized around three broadly conceived categories: (1) production, including such issues as increasing farm size, the impact of agricultural chemicals on farmworkers and the environment, and animal welfare; (2) distribution, including such issues as the increasing length of supply chains (and the “localist” response), the medicalization of food, and the debate over labeling; and (3) consumption, including such issues as food safety, hunger, and obesity. Finally, while this course focuses primarily on the United States, the politics of the American food system clearly extend beyond our national borders in the form of trade disputes over food safety regulations, the heated debate over the causes of (and solutions to) world hunger, the environmental and social impact of extensive supply chains, the threat of bioterrorism, and other issues. We will cover each of these issues to one degree or another in our common readings, and you are certainly welcome to focus your final paper on some aspect of the global implications of American food politics.
Fall 2009 (TR 3:30-4:45)
Instructors: Ken Cooper and Jordan Kleiman
We chose the SWFM because it is a highly principled market that provides an important link between the Rochester area’s ecologically sound farms and a mixed-income, racially and ethnically diverse urban neighborhood--a demographic traditionally underserved by farmers markets and organic growers. We also liked the SWFM's strong commitment to the development of a local food system, which, among other things, has led them to restrict participation to farmers located within a 100-mile radius of the market.
The Geneseo CSM is based on the more familiar concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), in which a farmer (usually organic) sells shares of the harvest to raise capital prior to the growing season. In return, CSA members receive a basket of produce every week or so and have an opportunity to do a day or two of work on the farm during the growing season. The farmer is able to distribute his/her economic risk, and the CSA member gets local, responsibly produced food at a discount and helps build a sustainable local food system in the process. CSMs work on the same principle, but instead of buying from a single farmer, members buy shares from a farmers market, and their baskets of produce are filled by multiple farmers selling at the market.
As part of their internship, Steph and Yolanda recruited Geneseo students and community members to buy shares and organized the biweekly pick-up and drop-off of the food. In addition, they have created a webage and blog for the CSM and are helping the SWFM conduct customer and farmer surveys to determine the strengths and weaknesses of this cutting-edge program. Steph and Yolanda are also in the process of creating an "operating manual" to facilitate smooth transitions to future Geneseo CSM managers.
The Geneseo Food Project will sponsor a panel discussion of the CSM on the evening of March 25, 2009 (time and location TBA), featuring Steph, Yolanda, and SWFM co-founder Chris Hartman. Information on signing up for CSM shares can be found on the CSM website.