Global Food Politics

This class examines the political, social, and cultural landscapes of food and farming around the world. We start at the point of agricultural production, exploring current controversies over international land grabs and genetically modified seeds. We look at the global trade in food commodities and the inequalities embedded within the global food system. We then examine food consumption and the links between consumption, class, race, and identity. Finally, we look at questions of food access and assistance, considering inequalities in food availability and various programs designed to help people meet their food needs.

International Development and the Environment

This course explores the intersections of international development and environmental change. The first part of the course introduces key concepts, development paradigms, and the challenges of development practice. The second half of the course addresses a set of topical environmental issues – food and agriculture, urban ecologies, climate change, biodiversity conservation, and resource extraction. We use these case studies to consider how the environment becomes entangled with questions of development in the Global South.

Environmental Science and Policy

This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to key environmental concepts. Following an overview of how different disciplines approach environmental issues, the course is structured around a series of contemporary environmental case studies – water resources management, fisheries, air pollution, deforestation, biodiversity conservation, and food production. Class lectures are paired with a range of lab activities.

Nature and Society Seminar

In this graduate seminar, we explore the mutual interactions between societies and their environments through a discussion of key themes in contemporary nature- society scholarship, including scale, materiality, knowledge, expertise, and infrastructure. We pair our discussion of these theoretical ideas with a set of fascinating case studies on the most highly valued mushroom in the world, global cotton markets, artisanal cheese makers in the United States, and water politics in Mumbai.

Geography of the Middle East

The Middle East is more than camels and sand dunes, mosques and oil rigs. It includes contrasting environments, from deserts to deltas, snow-topped peaks to seashores, fields to forests. It is occupied by people of many different ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. In this class, we go beyond the dominant media coverage of a region characterized by social protest, religious fundamentalism, and conflict to explore the everyday lives of the diverse peoples living in this region. We look at the region’s varied geographies and examine societal dynamics of urban life, kinship, race, gender, and religion.

Water, Politics, and Society

Water quenches thirst, sustains crops, generates power, cools industry, conveys ships, carries waste, and maintains ecosystems. This course examines the political, social, and cultural dimensions of each of these facets of water resources management. We explore the political dynamics of water distribution, access, and use. We also investigate questions of urban water management, river restoration, water-related hazards, shared transboundary waters, and the threat of water wars.