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Political Science: Global Politics of Food

POLS 196 OL1 (CRN: 61776)

3 Credit Hours

About POLS 196 OL1

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Dates: May 22 - June 16, 2023 Prereqs for degree students: POLS 051 or POLS 071; Synchronous online

More Information

Section Description

This course provides a political look at food production, distribution and consumption both historically and today. It investigates food in the development of political hierarchy, the state system, industrial capitalism, U.S. hegemony, the politics of development, environmental issues, health and diet, and the politics of identity and difference. This course analyzes our food system and grapples with pressing questions about the future of food through the use of comparative politics and international relations concepts and theoretical approaches. This course will investigate the complex relationship between food and society by drawing out the connections between the food system, as it has developed and as it exists today, and major political issues and approaches. From the agrarian revolution that initiated forms of social hierarchy to the role of bread riots in the Arab Spring uprising, how humans produce, distribute and consume food has been integral to politics and the development of political structures. Through a study of the historic role food has played in the development of states, the emergence of complex trading routes and empires, the rise of capitalism and the industrial revolution, the growth of U.S. power, and the globally connected food trading regime, as well as a deep dive into contemporary politics of food, food social movements, hunger in a world of plenty, and the future of agriculture on a warming planet, this course will elucidate the ever present connection between our food system and our politics. The centrality of food in how we organize society, understand our cultural identity, interact with the natural world, and express our social and political convictions, makes it an insightful analytical tool into political processes and structures.

Section Expectation

Upon completion of this course students will be able to outline the history of food in the social development of political forms, connect food politics to the colonial, capitalist, and globalized world orders throughout human history, as well as critically analyze the contemporary food system, forms of social resistance to it, and possible food futures. This course will utilize a diverse set of research methods and theories from political science and the social sciences more broadly. Students will learn through mixed lecture, seminar, class projects, films, speakers and field trips, along with experiential and hands-on methods and approaches including course games and exercises, dietary analysis, and case studies.




Online (View Campus Map)


to on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

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Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
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