Winter 2021 Sustainable Food Systems Courses

Interested in taking a food systems course next semester? See below for a sampling of course offerings for the 2021 Winter semester! 

**Note that you do not need to minor in Food & Environment or pursue a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems to enroll in these courses**

Featured Graduate Courses
Featured Graduate Courses
Featured Undergraduate Courses

UNDERGRADUATE

Climate Change and Sustainability / ENVIRON 111 (3 credits)

Michael Arniboldi || T/Th 1 – 2:30
Climate Change and Sustainability: Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century — This course explores impacts of modern human society on land, ocean, and atmosphere, considering all aspects relevant to a sustainable future. Throughout the semester, students work on a sustainability pledge to apply class material to everyday life.

Practical Botany / BIOLOGY 102 (4 credits)

Yin-Long Qiu || M/F 12-1:00pm
This is an introductory course about plants and the interaction of plants, people, and the natural world. Each week there are two one-hour lectures and one, afternoon three-hour lab/discussion at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Lecture topics include: how plants fit into the diversity of life; what plants look like; how plants function; and growing a garden; agriculture and food; environmental importance of plants.

Food and Drink of Asia / ASIAN 258 (4 credits)

Miranda Brown || TBD
This class examines the past and present of Asian food and drink. It begins with an examination of the foods and drinks that have united various peoples within Asia. It then moves to foods and drinks that have historically divided peoples along ethnic, class, and religious lines. The final part of the class investigates foods that define people as members of national or ethnic groups

Exercise, Nutrition and Weight Control | MOVESCI/AES 241 (3 credits)

Peter Bodary || T/Th 1 – 2:30 pm
Study of body mass regulation including the understanding of food, digestion, metabolism and different intervention strategies such as a diet and exercise. Students learn assessment and prescription principles and techniques.

Obesity: The Science, Culture, and Politics of Fatness in America / ALA 264 (3 credits)

Margot Finn || M/W 4 – 5:30 pm
We explore the “obesity epidemic” from multiple perspectives: 1) as a biological phenomenon, focusing on debates in the current scientific understanding of the causes and consequences of fatness; 2) as a social and cultural phenomenon, focusing on the changing relationships between fatness, beauty, and status; 3) as a policy issue, focusing on efforts to make make people thinner and reduce bias against fat people. Requirements include one group project, three individual papers, and frequent reading quizzes. Fully asynchronous with frequent 30-40 min optional in-person meetings on Zoom.

Plants and People / ENVIRON 262, EARTH 262 (3 credits)

John Benedict || M/W 10 – 11:30 am
This course examines the relationship between plants, people, and the environment; focusing on economically important plants. Plants are important for survival, aesthetic, and environmental purposes and have had significant impacts on human history, society, and environment. Today plants are critical for our future. Topics include foods, fibers, drugs, and ornamentals.

Psychology of Environmental Stewardship / ENVIRON 361, EAS 561 (3 credits)

Ray De Young || M/W 1 – 2:30 pm
An enduring challenge of crafting a truly sustainable society is to create one in which people will want to live. How do we reframe and promote a sustainable existence so that people not only accept it, but actually seek it out? How do we support people so they begin building this society as soon as possible? These questions are explored using small-scale food related examples through the framework of their being a behavioral challenge, not a political or technological issue.

The Measure of Our Meals: Food Studies Research Methods / ALA 370 (3 credits)

Margot Finn || M/W 1 – 2:30 pm
In this course, we explore the cross-disciplinary methods used to study food. We use Life cycle analysis to measure the differences between conventional and alternative production systems. We use ethnography to explore different cooking and eating practices and their cultural significance. We perform close readings to understand the attitudes towards food revealed by advertisements, television shows, and films. Lastly, we explore the different methods used by historians to understand the development of ancient cuisines and GMOs.

Food in American Culture / AMCULT 311 (4 credits)

Jessica Walker || TBD
This course explores American food through the social differences that have historically defined it. How do we know what is not American food? How do we know what counts and how does national cuisine come to be? As an R&E course we will answer these questions with a focus on how racial meaning has changed over time. Students often know a lot more about their foodways than they think so we connect that with their everyday experiences around food and identity.

Hunger in America: Building Skills to Feed Communities / PUBHLTH 309 (3 credits)

Kate Bauer & Susan Aaronson || T 2 – 5 pm
Food insecurity, or a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life, affects 1 in 8 Americans, and nearly 1 in 3 University of Michigan students. Food insecurity is caused by the intersection of a wide range of factors, from personal cooking skills to neighborhood food access to federal food policies. For this reason, fighting food insecurity in the US requires advocates with diverse skills, knowledge, and perspectives working together. This course seeks to provide students at the University of Michigan with these skills, knowledge, and perspectives, allowing them to become leaders to improve their own health and wellbeing and that of their communities and nationwide. To accomplish this, the course will integrate community visits; in-classroom, hands-on activities; and instructor-guided seminars to help students understand the experience and impacts of food insecurity.

Nutrition and Evolution / ANTHRBIO 364 (4 credits)

Maureen Devlin || T/Th 11:30-1 pm
In this course, we will trace the evolution of human nutrition, and consider how recent changes in diet, exercise, reproduction, and lifespan affect our fitness in the modern world. Lectures will review: 1) the basic physiology of human nutrition, 2) human diet in the context of other primates and our hominin ancestors, 3) consequences of under- and overnutrition, and 4) special topics including reproduction, lifespan, and the recent obesity epidemic.

FOOD IN THE ANCIENT WORLD / CLARCH 382 (3 credits)

Laura Motta || M/W 1 – 2:30 pm
This course examines patterns of food production and consumption in the ancient Mediterranean world in order to observe the organization and symbolic construction of communities through time. Manners of eating and drinking – or starving – in Greek, Hellenistic and Roman society will be the focus of our attention.

Nutrition in the Life Cycle / PUBHLTH 310/NUTR 510 (3 credits)

Olivia Anderson || M/W 10 – 11 am
Nutrition in the Life Cycle will cover nutritional needs of individuals during critical stages of development. Students will learn about the biological basis for nutritional requirements in normal development and maintaining health in adulthood. Consequences of over- and under-nutrition and how to identify and address these issues will be discussed.

Environmental Justice & Activism / ENVIRON 390 (3 credits)

Virginia Murphy || T/Th 1 – 2:30 pm
This course defines environmental activism as a social movement designed to affect positive and sustainable environmental change. We will articulate an overarching set of values to which people can respond, as well as a shared set of symbols, heroes, slogans, and other cultural referents

Camels, Kabobs, and Kahlil Gibran: Arab American Cultural Studies / AMCULT 330 (4 credits)

Mathew Stiffler || W 6 – 7 pm
Camels, Kabobs, and Kahlil Gibran investigates Arab American cultural identity through the objects, events, and institutions that have helped to create and maintain Arab American “culture” since the late 19th century. Some of the driving questions of the course are: Is there a specific Arab American “Arabness”? Why is ethnic food an important area of analysis? How and why does Arab American cultural identity change?

Health and African Development / AAS 458 (3 credits)

Howard Stein || W 2:30 – 5:30 pm

Plants in Archaeology / CLARCH 480 (3 credits)

Laura Motta || M/W 11:30 – 1 pm
The course provides a background for the analysis and interpretation of archaeobotanical data aimed at preparing students for the critical assessment of published archaeobotanical reports. Different macro and micro remains are introduced, with particular attention to carpological data. The lab portion of the course focuses on the practical hands-on aspects of sorting, identifying, and quantifying archaeobotanical macro-remains, with an emphasis on charred seeds. Identification training will focus prima

Principles of Transition: Power-over, Power-with / ENVIRON 462, EAS 565 (2 credits)

Thomas Princen || M 5:30 – 7:30 pm
A premise is that transition, being a fundamental, unprecedented, discontinuous shift with both biophysical and social dimensions, will play out along lines of power differences and power sources. Part I examines how physical power, especially fossil fuels, especially oil, translates into economic, political and military power. Part II examines resistance to such power, including the organization and protest of resident and indigenous peoples, NGOs and transnational organizations. Part III examines the concept and practice of “power with”empowerment through action; the special power of the place-based; and the power, individual and collective, of reconnection, respect, humility.

Ecosystem Ecology / ENVIRON/EEB/EAS 476 (3 credits)

Jacob Allgeier & Donald Zak || T/Th 10 – 11:30 am
Ecosystem Ecology focuses on current theories regarding the control and function of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and the approaches and techniques being used to test these theories. These theories and approaches underpin all resource management including all food production, and will be discussed throughout the course in the context of the current challenges and approaches to thier application to the management and restoration of ecosystems.

GRADUATE

Ecosystem Ecology | ENVIRON/EEB/EAS 476 (3 credits)

Jacob Allgeier & Donald Zak, T/Th 10 – 11:30 am
Ecosystem Ecology focuses on current theories regarding the control and function of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and the approaches and techniques being used to test these theories. These theories and approaches underpin all resource management including all food production, and will be discussed throughout the course in the context of the current challenges and approaches to thier application to the management and restoration of ecosystems.

Principles of Transition: Power-over, Power-with / ENVIRON 462, EAS 565 (2 credits)

Thomas Princen || M 5:30 – 7:30 pm
A premise is that transition, being a fundamental, unprecedented, discontinuous shift with both biophysical and social dimensions, will play out along lines of power differences and power sources. Part I examines how physical power, especially fossil fuels, especially oil, translates into economic, political and military power. Part II examines resistance to such power, including the organization and protest of resident and indigenous peoples, NGOs and transnational organizations. Part III examines the concept and practice of “power with”empowerment through action; the special power of the place-based; and the power, individual and collective, of reconnection, respect, humility.

Psychology of Environmental Stewardship / ENVIRON 361, EAS 561 (3 credits)

Ray De Young || M/W 1 – 2:30 pm
An enduring challenge of crafting a truly sustainable society is to create one in which people will want to live. How do we reframe and promote a sustainable existence so that people not only accept it, but actually seek it out? How do we support people so they begin building this society as soon as possible? These questions are explored using small-scale food related examples through the framework of their being a behavioral challenge, not a political or technological issue.

Evaluation of Global Nutrition Programs | NUTR 633 (3 credits)

Andrew Jones || T/Th 10 – 11:30 AM
This course will provide students with an understanding of the principles of program evaluation with an emphasis on global nutrition programs. The course will create a space for discussion and practice in which knowledge can be applied to current global nutrition issues through research and critical analysis.

Indigenous Sustainability and Environmental Justice / EAS 501 (3 credits)

Kyle Whyte || 11:30 – 1 pm
For Indigenous peoples, environmental justice, climate change resilience, food sovereignty, and ecological restoration take on different meanings than typically have been priorities in other environmental movements and sciences. This course seeks to understand, from Indigenous perspectives, how many Indigenous movements, Indigenous sciences and knowledge systems, and the projects of Indigenous organizations and governments seek to achieve sustainability and environmental justice, including the challenges they face and the lessons they have learned.

Nutrition in the Life Cycle / PUBHLTH 310/NUTR 510 (3 credits)

Olivia Anderson || M/W 10 – 11 am
Nutrition in the Life Cycle will cover nutritional needs of individuals during critical stages of development. Students will learn about the biological basis for nutritional requirements in normal development and maintaining health in adulthood. Consequences of over- and under-nutrition and how to identify and address these issues will be discussed.

Socio-ecological Approaches to Child and Adolescent Nutrition / NUTR 650 (3 credits)

Kate Bauer || M/W 11:30 – 1 pm
This course utilizes a socio-ecological approach to provide a comprehensive introduction to issues and current debates related to public health nutrition among children and adolescents. Throughout the semester, woven through all of these topics, there will be extensive consideration of appropriate research methodologies and critical reading of current scientific literature.

Food Science / NUTR 547 (2 credits)

Susan Aaronson || Th 12 – 2 pm
An examination of food composition and the chemical and physical changes that result from food processing, preparation and cooking. Discussion of foods as complex systems containing a wide variety of chemicals including nutrients, phytochemicals, functional ingredients, natural or transferred toxins and additives. Discussion of changes in chemicals with different types of food preservation. Consideration of health risks associated with dietary exposure to selected nutrients and other chemicals. Exploration of the role of sensory analysis related to food acceptance. Overview of important regulations related to the content of food products.

Masters Project Theme Course: Water Resources / EAS 701 (3 credits)

Jose Alfaro || T/Th 4 – 5:30 pm
Several of the projects there are very related to food systems. Specifically, Integrating Renewable Energy to Small Holders Farms in South Africa, Creation of a Biomass Microgrid in Puerto Rico, Carbon Foot-printing for a Coffee Cooperative in Costa Rica, Support for a National Strategy for Bioeconomy Policy in Costa Rica.