Women make up the majority of food cultivators in the world yet own only 1% of land. Across the globe, women and gender non-conforming people, as well as indigenous communities and communities of color, are leaders in agroecology and grassroots food sovereignty movements, movements that produce food in harmony with nature while offering an alternative to ecologically and socially destructive agribusiness. In homelands and in diasporas, food cultures also become vehicles for storytelling, emotional nourishment, and community support. How is food cultivation and culture a gendered form of expression, resistance, and resilience? In what ways is food justice linked to struggles over land dispossession and larger processes of decolonization? How is cultural nourishment and individual well-being in extricably linked to community well-being?
This program explores farming, food production, and community psychology at the intersections of gender, race/ethnicity, and class/caste in the US and across the globe, drawing connections between local and global food systems and communities. We will study feminist theories of people’s relationship to land, labor, food production and consumption, as well as the impacts of colonialism and capitalist- white supremacist patriarchy on land-based cultures, from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America, as well as the US .
Students will be introduced to theories of community psychology that frame questions of identity and individual and community well-being within the broader social, cultural, and environmental context. We will also read selections from the burgeoning genre of food writing, 90% of which is done by womxn authors. This work provides a complex view of food, cooking, and storytelling as an act of cultural preservation, the transference of matrilineal knowledge, and the reassertion of cultural identity in the face of unprecedented global migrations and political conflicts of the 21st century. We will draw on eco-feminist, indigenous, and decolonial world views to cultivate a holistic understanding of marginalized people’s lived relationship to land, farming, and food, and the interconnectedness of people and the earth. Students will engage in regular seminars and workshops along with research and writing projects about their own cultural foodways; applied studies will occur through cooking demonstrations and community-based learning as conditions allow. In winter, we plan to take local day trips with community partners to participate in their work promoting food security. In spring quarter, we plan one or two overnight field trips to regional farms to understand food justice in action, at the intersections of cultural and environmental sustainability. Students may engage in related spring internships or advanced research or capstone projects in spring quarter.
Students will gain skills in intersectional feminist analysis, community psychology, systems thinking, qualitative research methods, participatory action research, creative and analytical writing, and anti-oppression education.
Students joining in spring will need to do some brief reading/viewing prior to the quarter start. Contact the faculty for details.
education, community advocacy, food systems and agriculture, social work, international studies and human rights, therapy, counseling, psychology
$100 in winter and $200 in spring for fieldtrip expenses
Tues.-Fri., 9 am to 1 pm with additional times for local and regional fieldtrips
We will meet every other Friday, weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8 for either fieldwork or synthesis work. Field trips TBD.