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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Geographies of Food (GEGR10140)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe study of food in all its dimensions offers insights into a wide range of pressing questions in human geography. Food occupies everyone to some extent, connecting people to plantation economies and histories, regulations and markets, commodity cultures and ethical consumption, and collective understandings of risk, scarcity and abundance. This course provides students with historical, political economic and cultural understandings of food production, exchange/distribution and consumption, power-laden processes revealed as connected in time and space.
Course description The course seeks to enhance specialist knowledge of commodity-centred approaches to agri-food geographies, as well as a range of processes related to food and its globalisation, past and present. Students will engage in autonomous learning about a range of food commodities and their histories, economies, politics, moralities, cultures and networks, through a series of (closed-access) blog posts about the various geographies of food commodities. Through activities such as ┐quectures┐, online discussion boards, student learning groups, seminars and tutorials, students will gain a holistic understanding of agri-food systems in the global North and South, including current trends that are restructuring the North/South divide, complementing other courses with an international development focus. At the end of the course (COVID-19 restrictions pending) we will be heading to Granton Community Garden on a field trip that captures the social, ecological and political economic complexities of Alternative Food Networks. We will also be sharing and celebrating our learning over a pot luck meal, at the final Geographies of Food Banquet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Human Geography (GEGR08007) OR Development and Decolonization in Latin America (GEGR10114)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  35
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4, Fieldwork Hours 16, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 140 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework, consisting of 40% group work / 60% blog
The group work mark consists of individual reflections plus short group presentations (weeks 2-10).

The blog consists of six 500-word entries (3,000 words in total), excluding a practice entry. Each blog entry will be based on a particular subdiscipline of geographies of food (historical, political, economic, moral, cultural, and follow-the-thing geographies). Each blog post, in turn, will focus on a particular food commodity, selected from the categories: sweeteners, grains, meats or proteins, fruits, vegetables, processed foods.
The group work and the blog need to be passed independently (40% or above).

Assessment deadlines
The group work mark will be assessed each week, during weeks 2-10. The blog assignment will in Week 12.
Feedback Students will be provided formative feedback from the course organiser and tutor in both written and verbal form. Verbal feedback will be given on summative assessments including presentations and during lecture discussions, individual meetings held during office hours (optional), course reading seminars and at the examination feedback session following the release of course results. Written and oral feedback will be given on summative written assignments and the essay assignment that comprises 40% of the student┐s mark. Examples of feedback can be found here:
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Use and demonstrate the value of various geographical approaches to agri-food commodities, including historical, economic, political, moral, cultural and follow-the-thing (network) approaches;
  2. Explain the workings of the industrial capitalist food system at various scales and demonstrate a knowledge of alternative trends;
  3. Work collaboratively in student learning groups to prepare for quectures and develop and answer student-formulated questions;
  4. Actively engage in synchronous and asynchronous learning activities, providing considered and relevant responses;
  5. Relate their own food practices to past and present foodways.
Reading List
1. Bell, D. and Valentine, G. 1997. Consuming geographies: we are where we eat. London and New York: Routledge.

2. Counihan, Carole and Penny van Esterik. 2007. Food and culture: a reader (second edition). London and New York: Routledge.

3. Friedberg, Susan. 2004. French beans and food scares. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

4. Friedmann, Harriet. From colonialism to green capitalism: social movements and the emergence of food regimes. In Fredrick H. Buttel and Philip McMichael (eds) New directions in the sociology of global development (research in rural sociology and development, vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.227-264.

5. Fuller, Duncan, Andrew E. G. Jonas and Roger Lee. 2010. Interrogating alterity: alternative economic and political spaces. Surrey: Ashgate, chs. 6 and 10.

6. Millstone, Eric and Timothy Lang. 2009. The atlas of food: Who eats what, where and why. Berkeley: University of California Press.

7. Sen, Amartya. Food and Freedom. Available at:

8. Wilson, Marisa. 2014. Everyday moral economies: food, politics and scale in Cuba. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell (chapter 6).

Additional readings in the course handbook.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Upon completing the course, students will be able to:
1. critically evaluate evidence and develop reasoned arguments orally, visually and in writing
2. work in a group to plan and conduct qualitative fieldwork, presenting outcomes in a clear and engaging manner
3. prepare maps and other visual material to demonstrate specific problems, concepts or trends
4. produce written work to a high standard, leaving enough time for thorough revision(s)
5. actively engage in learning by locating and reading appropriate source material, utilising resources and support offered by the university and scheduling appointments with the course organiser during office hours or when necessary
KeywordsFood networks,commodity cultures,food regimes,alternative (or moral) economies,scale
Course organiserDr Marisa Wilson
Tel: (131 6)51 4634
Course secretaryMiss Carry Arnold
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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