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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) AvailabilityNot available to visiting 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 agri-food geographies, including a range of processes related to food and its globalisation, past and present. Students will engage in autonomous, group, and heuristic learning about agri-food geographies and their histories, economies, politics, moralities, cultures and networks. Through flipped lectures, in-person and virtual learning environments, student learning groups, seminars and presentations, 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 sharing and celebrating our learning over a communal meal, at the final Geographies of Food Banquet.

This course is open to 3rd and 4th year Geography students. This course is open to MA Geography students in the first instance. Students from other programmes may be able to join if there is space, but will need to be familiar with social science and humanities theories and methods. Please contact to check availability.
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 This course is open to 3rd and 4th year Geography students. This course is open to MA Geography students in the first instance. Students from other programmes may be able to join if there is space, but will need to be familiar with social science and humanities theories and methods. Please contact to check availability.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
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 and 60% essay
The group work mark consists of individual reflections plus short group presentations (weeks 2-10).
The essay consists of a 2,500 word paper (excluding bibliography and notes) based on a question of your own design.
The group work and essay need to be passed independently (40% or above).

Assessment deadlines:
Group work - Weeks 2-10
Essay - Week 8
Feedback Students will be provided with formative feedback from the course organiser in both written and verbal form. Verbal feedback will be given on formative and summative presentation assessments, during seminar discussions and in optional individual meetings held during office hours. Written feedback will be given on summative written assignments.
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 systems, including historical, economic, political, moral, cultural and network approaches;
  2. Explain the workings of the industrial capitalist food system at various scales and demonstrate a critical understanding of alternative trends;
  3. Work collaboratively in student learning groups to develop and answer student-formulated questions, presenting findings to the class;
  4. Actively engage in virtual and in-person, synchronous and asynchronous learning activities, providing considered and relevant responses during synchronous learning activities;
  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 Leigh Corstorphine
Tel: (01316) 502572
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