Monday, March 1, 2010

The Ethics of Food

Announcing a new cluster: The Ethics of Food!

Here's the description:

Where does our food come from? For most of us, the obvious answer is the grocery store, the bodega, or the restaurant on the corner. But it’s also obvious that there is more to the story: someone grows the food, someone cleans and prepares it, someone brings it, and sometimes, someone cooks it. You may have bought that burger at a cart on Thompson Ave., or that apple at the cafeteria, but each of those foods came a long way to reach this neighborhood, moving across the U.S. or half way across the world from the place where it was first produced. On the one hand, that tells us that the way we eat is shaped by forces much larger than we might think. On the other hand, it tells us that the choices we make when we eat have an effect on the lives of people—and other animals—very far away from us. In this cluster, we will examine both of these ideas from a variety of perspectives, through writing and research, ethical inquiry, historical study, and literary reading. Our studies will focus on how food is produced and how its production has changed over time; how the way we eat affects our environment and how it affects the people who grow and prepare our food; how it affects the plants and animals we grow as food; and how it is influenced by economic interests, technological developments, and political relationships. Readings may include work by Eric Schlosser, E.F. Schumacher, Peter Singer, Raj Patel, Upton Sinclair, William Cronon, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marion Nestle, Vandana Shiva, and Michael Pollan.

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