Courses

Courses offered from across the University that focus on topics of food studies and food systems are gathered as a resource for students and faculty. 

Spring 2024

Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Art, Media & Environmental Justice (CD or LA)
Subject associations
AMS 403 / ENV 403 / ART 406
Instructors
Allison Carruth
Economics of Food and Agriculture (SA)
Subject associations
ECO 355 / ENV 355
Instructors
Silvia Weyerbrock
Environmental Biotechnology (SEN)
Subject associations
CEE 325 / CBE 325 / ENE 325 / BNG 325
Instructors
Josh Atkinson
Food Culture and Food Justice (CD or LA)
Subject associations
AMS 305
Instructors
Michael W. Peterson
Food for Thought: What We Eat and Why (SA)
Subject associations
FRS 193
Instructors
Raquel Mattson-Prieto
Future of Food, The
Subject associations
WRI 121
Instructors
Philip Keel Geheber
The Literature of Gastronomy (LA)
Subject associations
ITA 319
Instructors
Pietro Frassica
Topics in Ancient History: Dining and Food in the Roman World (HA)
Subject associations
CLA 326 / HIS 326 / HLS 373 / HUM 324
Instructors
Caroline Cheung
Cait M. Mongrain

Fall 2023

Squishy Engineering: Using Soft Materials to Solve Hard Problems (SEN)
Subject associations
CBE 430 / MAE 430 / MSE 430

The milk we drink in the morning (a colloidal dispersion), the gel we put into our hair (a polymer network), and the plaque that we try to scrub off our teeth (a biofilm) are all familiar examples of soft or "squishy" materials. Such materials also hold great promise in helping to solve engineering challenges such as water remediation, therapeutic development/delivery, and the development of new coatings, displays, formulations, foods, and biomaterials. This class covers fundamental aspects of the science of soft materials, presented within the context of these challenges, with guest speakers to describe new applications of soft materials.

Instructors
Sujit S. Datta
Topics in Environmental Studies: Building American Style: Land-Use Policies and Rules (SA)
Subject associations
ENV 305

Americans have built and preserved an astounding variety of environments. The course examines the evolving complex of incentives and regulations that drove the choices of where and how places developed. It focuses on how land-use and environmental planning encourage or discourage growth and can mitigate or intensify environmental, social, and economic effects. We examine the latest tools for building and protecting the American landscape. Special topics include transportation, food and agriculture, environmental justice, and climate change. Analysis will be from historical, policy-oriented, and predictive perspectives.

Instructors
Deborah Popper
Frank Popper
Saving Seeds (SA)
Subject associations
FRS 105

Seeds are ubiquitous. We eat them. We plant them. We blow them in the wind. But do they need saving? Seed saving is an heirloom practice that is as old as the notion of agriculture itself. Yet, seed saving practices sit at the center of an intensifying debate about biodiversity, food sovereignty, intellectual property rights, and the future of our species. This course will explore the oft-overlooked complexity of seeds and the people who are working to save them with special attention to intellectual, scientific, ethical, and practical challenges.

Instructors
Tessa J. Desmond
Decomposing the Science of Composting: How To Turn Waste into Resource (SEL)
Subject associations
FRS 115

This course overviews the science of composting by covering nutrient cycling (carbon and nitrogen, pollution), soil science (chemistry), microbial ecology, and the food/water/biodiversity/climate grand challenges. Local samples will be used. The course will enhance campus sustainability efforts through student research projects. Students will help the SCRAP lab optimize composting practices (e.g. aerobic biodigestor) to process dining-sourced bioplastics into healthy compost with low C emissions. Student findings will be an integral component of a larger NJ DEP supported project to advance campus recycling goals.

Instructors
Shannon Haynes
Xinning Zhang
The Global Land Challenge for Food, Climate and Biodiversity (SA)
Subject associations
SPI 405 / ENV 405 / EEB 356

People have converted almost half of the world's native habitats to agriculture (excluding desert and ice) and harvested more than 75% of the remaining forests. This conversion has contributed more than a quarter of the greenhouse gases people have added to the atmosphere and has been the primary cause of biodiversity loss. In the next 30 years, the world is on a path to convert vast additional areas and harvest vastly more forests to meet rising demands for food, wood, and energy.

Instructors
Timothy D. Searchinger
Future of Food, The
Subject associations
WRI 121

See the Princeton Writing Program website.

Instructors
Philip Keel Geheber

Spring 2023

Food, Culture & Society (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 311

This course explores the central role of food in everyday life in US and global contexts. Using a comparative global perspective, we will address key questions about histories of food production and consumption, the ways in which food production and distribution differentially affect the lives of those working in the food industry and those consuming food. We will think through how global shifts in food production and distribution impact human lives on national, local, and familial levels.

Instructors
Hanna Garth
Ethics of Eating (EM)
Subject associations
CHV 395 / PHI 399 / REL 396

We are what we eat--morally as well as molecularly. So how should concerns about animals, workers, the environment, and the local inform our food choices? Can we develop viable foodways for growing populations while respecting ethnic, religious, class, and access differences? The goal of this course is not to prescribe answers to these questions, but to give students the tools required to reflect on them effectively. These tools include a knowledge of the main ethical theories in philosophy, and a grasp of key empirical issues regarding food production, distribution, and disposal. Includes guest lectures, instructor-led small-group sessions.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Water-Energy-Food Nexus (SEL)
Subject associations
FRS 152

A hands-on seminar and laboratory experience focusing on sustainable development and the interaction of food, energy, and water. Students will partner with community- and campus-based groups to explore themes.

Instructors
Lamyaa El-Gabry
The Literature of Gastronomy (LA)
Subject associations
ITA 319

What we do or do not eat and where we eat, are questions linked to anthropological and cultural matters. In a socio-political context, food, or the lack thereof, defines a society and its inadequacies. It becomes an agent of power, a metaphor for sex and gender, as well as a means of community. Whether as desire or transgression, whether corporal or spiritual - the representation of food is the depiction of Italian life. This course will examine translated Italian texts, along with visual art and film, in order to explore the function of eating, both as biological necessity as well as metaphor, within Italian society.

Instructors
Daniele De Feo
Pietro Frassica
The Land Crisis for Food, Climate and Wildlife (SA)
Subject associations
SPI 405 / ENV 405

People have plowed up, cut-down and otherwise heavily manipulated more than 75% of the world's forests and grasslands, releasing roughly 30% of the carbon in the atmosphere added by people. In the next 30 years, the world is on a path to convert vast additional areas of forest and diverse habitats to meet rising demands for food, wood, and energy. This course will explore the scope of the challenge and possible solutions. Students will obtain a general understanding of important scientific concepts, such as the carbon cycle, basic principles of agronomy and biodiversity. They will also explore a wide range of policy issues.

Instructors
Timothy D. Searchinger
Future of Food, The
Subject associations
WRI 121

See the Princeton Writing Program website.

Instructors
Philip Keel Geheber

Fall 2022

Squishy Engineering: Using Soft Materials to Solve Hard Problems (SEN)
Subject associations
CBE 430 / MAE 430 / MSE 430

The milk we drink in the morning (a colloidal dispersion), the gel we put into our hair (a polymer network), and the plaque that we try to scrub off our teeth (a biofilm) are all familiar examples of soft or "squishy" materials. Such materials also hold great promise in helping to solve engineering challenges such as water remediation, therapeutic development/delivery, and the development of new coatings, displays, formulations, foods, and biomaterials. This class covers fundamental aspects of the science of soft materials, presented within the context of these challenges, with guest speakers to describe new applications of soft materials.

Instructors
Sujit S. Datta
Designing Ventures To Change the World
Subject associations
EGR 488 / ENT 488

Princeton's motto: 'In the nation's service and the service of humanity.' Inspiring, but what does it mean for people interested in addressing important global challenges through socially-minded entrepreneurship and innovation? We will explore how for-profit or non-profit social-benefit ventures can do well and do good - helping communities to become self-reliant and prosperous while confronting inequality, global climate change, food insecurity, injustice and other problems. We will examine models for durable social ventures, engage with entrepreneurs, and develop your own solution ideas for the problems and communities you care about.

Instructors
John D. Danner
Resource Recovery for a Circular Economy
Subject associations
ENE 321 / CEE 321 / ENV 371

The course will focus on emerging science and technologies that enable the transition from our traditional linear economy (take, make, waste) to a new circular economy (reduce, reuse, recycle). It will discuss the fundamental theories and applied technologies that are capable of converting traditional waste materials or environmental pollutants such as wastewater, food waste, plastics, e-waste, and CO2, etc. into valued-added products including energy, fuels, chemicals, and food products.

Instructors
Z. Jason Ren
Topics in Environmental Studies: Building American Style: Land-Use Policies and Rules (SA)
Subject associations
ENV 305

Americans have built and preserved an astounding variety of environments. The course examines the evolving complex of incentives and regulations that drove the choices of where and how places developed. It focuses on how land-use and environmental planning encourage or discourage growth and can mitigate or intensify environmental, social, and economic effects. We examine the latest tools for building and protecting the American landscape. Special topics include transportation, food and agriculture, environmental justice, and climate change. Analysis will be from historical, policy-oriented, and predictive perspectives.

Instructors
Deborah Popper
Frank Popper
Politics and Environment in France (SA)
Subject associations
FRE 230 / ENV 232

Improve your spoken and written French while studying some urgent topics in French environmental politics, from climate change and energy politics to environmental racism, food safety, animal rights, and degrowth. How is the French case unique? What is a ZAD and "un grand projet inutile"? What happened at Plogoff and Larzac? How do class, race, and gender intersect with the exploitation of nature? What exactly is "ecofascism" anyway? Discussion and creative projects will focus on films, bandes dessinées, literature, art, and essays; the course is writing- and speaking-intensive.

Instructors
Göran Magnus Blix

Spring 2022

Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Art and Politics of Food (CD or LA)
Subject associations
AMS 403 / ENV 403 / VIS 408

This course brings methods and ideas from two fields--American studies and the environmental humanities--to examine the role of the arts in US food movements related to agriculture, culinary experimentation and environmental justice. Course materials will include film, visual and performance art, journalism, political ephemera and culinary artifacts. Course participants will develop both an independent research-based essay and a multimedia collaborative project that build on the seminar's guiding questions and assigned materials.

Instructors
Allison Carruth
Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Art, Media & Environmental Justice (CD or LA)
Subject associations
AMS 403 / ENV 403 / ART 406

Connect contemporary American art and visual culture with environmental justice movements. Examines photographers, performers, filmmakers, writers, and other artists, with a focus on Indigenous and other BIPOC artists and media makers. Examines how artists engage with environmental justice movements around climate change and energy transitions, food and water security, land use and land back, biodiversity loss, and allied issues. What roles do the arts play in such movements?

Instructors
Allison Carruth
Agriculture, Human Diets and the Environment (SEN)
Subject associations
ENV 303 / EEB 303

Food fuels us and our diets connect us with nature at many scales. Yet most of us poorly understand how food is produced and how production processes impact our diets, health, livelihoods and the environment. By the course's end, students will better understand the ethical, environmental, economic, social and medical implications of their food choices. Food production methods ranging from hunting, fishing and gathering to small and large scale crop and animal farming will be examined through lenses of ethics, ecology, evolutionary biology, geography, political economy, social dynamics, physiology, climate change and sustainability.

Instructors
Daniel I. Rubenstein
American Agrarians: Ideas of Land, Labor, and Food (SA)
Subject associations
AMS 419 / ENV 419

For agrarians, farms and fields are prized over boardrooms and shopping malls. Agrarianism values hard work, self-sufficiency, simplicity and connection with nature. For some today, it is a compelling antidote to globalization and consumerism. This course examines American agrarianism past and present and its central role in our national imaginary, tracing the complex and contradictory contours of a social and political philosophy that seeks freedom and yet gave way to enslaving, excluding, and ignoring many based on race, immigration status, and gender. A focus will be on new agrarianism and movements for food, land, and social justice.

Instructors
Tessa J. Desmond
Consuming American: Food, Fiction, and Fact (SA)
Subject associations
FRS 191

This seminar will examine closely five persistent puzzles in the American food system and provide students with an opportunity to brainstorm, discuss, debate, and evaluate possible solutions to issues of food insecurity, food-related disease, farm labor, regulation, and the environment. Through these sets of puzzles and problems students will consider class, race, and gender disparities as well as themes of paternalism and judgement, food as a human right, and concepts of freedom.

Instructors
Tessa J. Desmond

Prior Sample Courses

Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Art and Politics of Food
Special Topics in Sustainable, Resilient Cities and Infrastructure Systems
The Ethics of Eating
The Quest for Health: Contemporary Debates on Harm, Medicine, and Ethics
Agriculture, Human Diets and the Environment
The Land Crisis for Food, Climate and Wildlife
Saving Seeds
Consuming American: Food, Fiction, and Fact