Food, Hunger, Obesity (PSYC-399)
This course is entitled Food, Hunger, and Obesity: from Biochemistry to Political Economy. In academia, we tend to approach subjects in separate areas of study taught in traditional intellectual disciplines. So parts of what is contained in this course are studied and taught in biology, chemistry, economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology departments in the liberal arts tradition, as well as in culinary arts, exercise science, health and wellness, nursing, and nutrition programs. This Balkanization of knowledge is perhaps inevitable - who can develop any expertise in so many areas? - but results in blinkered approaches and understandings which miss the interrelated nature of the problems. The study of food is an ideal topic for trying to reverse this splintering of knowledge and to seek integrated solutions to complex problems. We will look at the dietary and medical aspects of how our bodies use food, but also at how food is produced and distributed (both currently and historically). This will inevitably lead us into considerations of both overnutrition (obesity and its medical consequences) and undernutrition (poverty and hunger). Some knowledge of the natural sciences (especially biology and chemistry) would be very useful for this course; however, no specific set of prior knowledge is assumed as long as you are willing to remediate those parts of your knowledge that are missing.
Faculty: Stephen J Clark
Start/End Date: Jan. 22, 2013 - May 10, 2013