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ETHICSOC 12: First Steps toward Sustainable Food Solutions: Weighing Political, Economic, and Ethical Trade-Offs

Most food courses offer either a purely factual account of the challenges we face in connection with food, or idealistic accounts of what solutions would be best in a perfect world. Our approach is different. Our focus is on effective real-world policymaking and activism. Our aim is to identify the best initial steps toward the ultimate goal of sustainable food solutions given the messy real-world constraints of political feasibility and human irrationality that stand in the way of ideal solutions. For example, even if policymakers and activists agree that factory farms should ideally be eliminated, they still face the more pressing question of what initial steps of policy and activism would be most effective at moving us toward that goal. Similarly, even if policymakers and activists share goals of food justice, they still face the more pressing question of how best to work toward those goals from our starting point here and now. With that in mind, our goal is to use a weekly discussion of highly accessible readings from social science, behavioral economics, public policy, and ethics to illuminate how best to make the political, economic, and ethical trade-offs that are necessary for progress toward realistic solutions. In the process, we aim to distill more general insights about effective policymaking and activism that apply beyond the domain of food issues, and to include diverse perspectives that are often neglected in university food courses. NOTE: Course enrollment will be capped at 20, please contact Priya Fielding-Singh at to apply.
Terms: Spr | Units: 1 | Grading: Satisfactory/No Credit
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