RCSSCI 250 - Topics in Social Theory and Practice
Fall 2022, Section 001 - How America Eats: Food, Farm and Sovereignty
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: RC Social Sciences (RCSSCI)
Department: LSA Residential College
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Food is central to our lives, culture, and wellbeing. Food production has been an economic engine for the US, shaping our social and political processes. Food is also a cultural touchstone: a first foray into the dining hall with a sea of unfamiliar faces, a first date over dinner, a late-night trek to Insomnia Cookies. American food has evolved from the meat and potatoes of the 1950’s to today’s Farm to Table movement. Each iteration illustrates bits of our nation’s historical moments, like the Victory Gardens during World War I and II.

American farmers, chefs, social justice advocates, and writers have chronicled these evolutions in both word and deed. We take photos of our plated food at restaurants, yet we often ignore the plight of the people who grow our food.  Farmworkers are routinely exposed to pesticides, severe heat, and unfair working conditions.  Farmers of color have long been denied loans from the USDA, and many have lost their familial land. And local dairy farms struggle to make a living against the backdrop of cheap pricing and big agriculture.

This course will explore local and sustainable food and meet the famers who grow it.  We’ll study issues of food access, food sovereignty, and fair labor conditions for farmworkers. We will also explore how what we eat implicates each of us in this systemic injustice.  Materials include texts and films.

Contact Virginia Murphy with any questions: vemu@umich.edu

Course Requirements:

Students will earn grades through participation in class discussion, engagement in the East Quad garden, written responses to readings, activities, and speakers, and a final group project. At least one field trip will require a weekend time slot.

Intended Audience:

All LSA students

Class Format:

Learning Mode: This will be a Blended course. All documentary films will be viewed individually by students as an asynchronous class period (links will be provided).

Instruction Mode: Students should look to the syllabus for schedules of synchronous and asynchronous participation materials.


RCSSCI 250 - Topics in Social Theory and Practice
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22
002 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22
003 (LEC)
 In Person
W 10:00AM - 1:00PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22
Note: All classes will be taught at the UM Detroit Center
004 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for RCSSCI 250.001

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for RCSSCI 250 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)