Undergraduate Catalog 2017-2018
SOC/ANT 314 The High Cost of Cheap Food
4 hours; 4 credits
An examination of the problems associated with the mass consumption of industrialized food such as exploitation of labor, environmental degradation, animal abuse, widespread obesity and illness, and the erosion of social and cultural ties. We will critically examine the ways in which the industrialization of our food supply has made calories cheap and plentiful and how the society at large pays for cheap food’s hidden costs. Some of the questions we will ask include: How has social stratification historically affected people’s relationship to (consumption of) industrial food? Why do most Americans struggle to eat well? How is the workforce in America’s farms, factories and food service establishments raced and gendered? In what ways has the food industry worked to obscure its own practices? How have government regulations been shaped to cater to the needs of food companies rather than consumers? Through the lens of industrial food, this course focuses particular attention on issues of labor, immigration and capitalism.
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