Summer 2019 - SA 326 J100

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

Class Number: 2580

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Thu, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Ataman Avdan
    Office Hours: TH 16:00-17:00, or by appointment
  • 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.


This course explores the contemporary human-nature relationships with a special emphasis on food, urban-rural transformations, nature conservation, and environmentalism(s). In the first half the course, we will discuss the production, consumption, and the culture of food from eco-Marxist, ecofeminist, and Indigenous perspectives. We will engage with the discussions around the political economy of modern agriculture and agro-food networks, alienation and de-alienation of urbanites from their food, locavorism, veganism, Indigenous food sovereignty, food regimes, the global food system, and foodscapes. In the second half, we will focus on the changing relationships between urban and rural spaces, the processes of exurbanization and amenity migration, “green” gentrification, the neoliberalization of nature and conservation, and the differing, often conflicting, forms of environmentalism.

This course has an optional field trip and related assignment that may require travel by vehicle, public transit and/or foot during the scheduled class time. Students who do not wish to participate in the field trip and complete its related assignment will be provided with an alternative assignment. Further details can be obtained from the instructor.


At the end of this course, you should be able to 1) understand some of the major theories and concepts that are used to investigate food and agricultural issues in different contexts; 2) analyze relationships between food, human society, and the environment; 3) critically evaluate the changing relations between urban, rural and natural ecosystems; 4) think critically, analytically, and creatively about environmental movements; and 5) have detailed knowledge on a number of case studies.


  • Participation 10%
  • Five annotations (2% each) 10%
  • Group presentation/discussion leader 10%
  • Food autoethnography 15%
  • Exam 1 (in-class) 25%
  • Exam 2 (in-class) 25%
  • Assignment Option 1: Fieldtrip reflection paper 5%
  • Assignment Option 2: Documentary review 5%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). 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:



All required readings available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or online.

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.