Summer 2022 - SA 326 E100

Food, Ecology and Social Thought (S) (4)

Class Number: 3862

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 10 – Aug 8, 2022: Wed, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Debbie Dergousoff
    Office Hours: by appointment via online/in-person
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



Modernization narratives have placed food and agriculture on the margins of social thought. The current ecological crisis requires us to take a new look at the global agrifood system and its social, political and ecological relations. This course develops analytical perspectives on contemporary issues concerning food, ecology and agrarian change.


What does it mean to modernize an economy? To modernize agriculture? What does it mean to understand food and food production as relational, and why does it matter? This course is designed to answer these questions by developing your understanding of agrarian change and transformation in relation to historical, political, cultural, economic, and ecological contexts. We will begin with a Marxist analysis of how everyday work practices become aligned with processes of abstraction that transform understandings of food and food production to align with the needs of capital. As we examine how institutionally mediated directives are learned and translated into daily work practices, you will gain insights into how market-led agrarian restructuring comes to be taken for granted as the way things work. Using the case of Kyrgyzstan, we will examine how farmer’s present-day circumstances are linked to a particular set of historical circumstances and discursive processes that drive agricultural and land reforms toward a capital-dependent agricultural system, and how food is thus transformed from a relational to a global market concern. Resistance movements will be examined by participation in research panels through which you will have an opportunity to learn about and observe reimagined relationships among agriculture, farming, food-getting and nature. Creativity and innovation is encouraged in all course work.


1. Acquire an understanding of the historical trajectory of agrarian change and transformation.
2. Critically engage with scholarship on shifting relations of food and their implications for human and non-human well-being.
3. Explore agricultural knowledges as forms of political and social relations.
4. Position oneself in relation to shifting conceptualizations about ecology and food production.
5. Develop oral communication and group-working skills by participating in class discussions and research panels.


  • Midterm Exam 30%
  • Group Presentation and Participation 30%
  • Term Paper 40%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



all readings in Canvas Library Reserves

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote, online, or blended courses study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.