2012 Food Course

2012 Inaugural University Course

Food Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Why, What, and How We Eat

DOCST 190.05 / WOMENST 150.01 / CULANTH 180.08


Convened by Laurie Patton, Dean of Arts and Sciences

Co-Professors:  Kathy Rudy (Associate Professor of Women’s Studies) & Charles D. Thompson (Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology, Adjunct Professor of Religion, and Curriculum and Education Director, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University)


Duke Today Story: Eat What You Learn


This innovative University Course will bring together faculty and students from different disciplines and different schools at Duke to explore an issue of common concern. In this first “pilot” course we will focus on Food Studies.

Some of the questions this course will explore include, where does industrial food come from?  Why is it so inadequate?  Who sells it to us, and what is their stake in the growth and manufacturing?  What kinds of farming practices have changed over the last half-century and why?  What cultural processes have shaped the planting, harvesting, cooking, packaging, shipping, advertising, selling, and buying of our food?   What do these shifts mean for us humans, for farmers, for farm workers, for farm animals, and for the greater environment?  What is the role of chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones), genetic modifications, and cloning in this new world of food?  Can we really produce enough food without them? We hope you join us in a critical examination of food, from production to consumption.

Contributors include:

Laurie Patton

Dean of Arts & Sciences

Lee D. Baker

Dean of Academic Affairs of Trinity College, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Larry Moneta

Vice President
Student Affairs

Franca Alphin

Director of Nutrition Services (Student Health), Assistant Professor (Dept of Community and Family Medicine), and adjunct faculty (Health, Wellness, and Physical Education)      
Student Affairs

Dennis Clements

Associate Professor (Peds), Director (Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies), Division of Infectious Diseases, Pediatrics
Duke Children's Primary Care, Duke Global Health Institute, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Charlotte Clark          

Lecturer in Sustainability Economics
Nicholas School of the Environment

Gavan Fitzsimons      

R. David Thomas Professor of Marketing and Psychology
Fuqua School of Business

Claudia Gunsch         

Assistant Professor, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering

Jedediah Purdy          

Professor of Law
School of Law

Norman Wirzba          

Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life
Duke Divinity School

Please contact Cathy Lewis (c.lewis@duke.edu, 613-6271) with any questions.