Bringing scholars in the natural and social sciences and the humanities together to explore how food is grown, who grows it, how we talk about this, and why it matters. Curricula includes intensive training in Environmental Life Cycle Assessment and travel throughout North Carolina, southern Appalachia and coastal southeastern United States to study components of the food system.
This Duke Immerse takes the premise that cultural narratives have real-world impacts and that increased extreme weather events associated with climate change must be addressed in part through changes in the food system. Imagining the Future of Food combines coursework, experiential learning at the Duke Campus Farm, and travel throughout North Carolina, southern Appalachia, and the coastal southeastern United States to ask:
The challenges of the present agrifood system are complex and inherently interdisciplinary. They require scientific and technological expertise and understanding, as well as complex critical and systems thinking. Food, more than most other commodities, is a marker of personal and cultural identity that connects us to complex natural and social ecologies. Our choice of food represents our social and cultural values and is not easily shifted. As such, a nuanced understanding of the cultural, as well as agricultural, context of food will be needed if we are to change the way we eat.
Imagining the Future of Food takes five interlocking approaches:
Locations: Durham, NC; San Francisco Bay Area, CA; Beaufort, NC
Term: Fall 2021
Dates: August 30-31, September 2-3, 6-7, 9-10: Duke Campus Farm; October 7-13: Northern California
Application Deadline: Applications are closed for Fall 2021, but Duke Immerse will consider late applications on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Morgan Barlow (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and to apply.
Academic Themes: Biology; Cultural Anthropology; Environmental Science; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; Italian; Romance Studies; Sociology
Eligibility: Students must have taken WRITING 101, Non-Duke students matriculated at Duke are eligible for this program10
Participants are required to pay a program fee of $1,000 in addition to regular Duke tuition, fees, and room and board. This fee covers all program costs, including airfare. Financial aid packages may be used to cover these costs; if you have any question or concern as to whether financial aid will be able to cover this for you, please reach out to the Karsh Financial Support Office directly (email@example.com); they are familiar with Duke Immerse and can answer your questions.
Students accepted into Imagining the Future of Food will receive the permission numbers needed to enroll in this set of Duke Immerse courses. Enrolled students must take the four courses outlined below. Overloading is acceptable with the permission of all instructors; no underload is permitted. One Duke semester course credit is equivalent to four semester hours.
Course numbers: ENVIRON 228S-01, BIO 228S-01
Curriculum codes: NS, STS
Course Description: Incorporating agricultural practices and scientific experimentation, this course covers primary physiological processes from subcellular to whole plant that affect plant growth in a changing environment. Processes include photosynthesis, respiration, water relations, nutrient and carbohydrate allocation, signaling, and stress responses to various biotic and abiotic factors for a range of plant species adapted to different environments. Applications include plant improvement for food and biofuel production, management of plant growth in response to global change. Local field trips planned. DukeImmerse participants only; instructor consent is required.
Instructor: Jean Cristophe Domec, Ph.D.
Course number: ENVIRON 338S-01
Curriculum codes: NS, R, STS
Course Description: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to identify the magnitude, type, and location of the environmental impacts caused by all the stages of a production process, from the gathering of raw materials to the disposal of the product at the end of its life. LCA is useful to better understand and estimate the environmental impacts associated to the production, transportation, storage, and waste of food for human consumption. This course introduces fundamental concepts and methods to conduct Environmental Life Cycle Assessments and trains students in the use of open-source software to conduct streamlined analyses. It includes a discussion of the Economic-Input Output LCA (EIO-LCA) method which was theorized and developed by economist Wassily Leontief in the 1970s and applied to the U.S. economy in the 1990s by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. The course will pay special attention to the water and energy use associated with food production and processing.
Instructor: Dalia Patino Echeverri, Ph.D.
Course numbers: GSF 290S-03
Curriculum codes: ALP, CCI, CZ, EI, W
Course Description: Explores literary representations of American agriculture from the 19th century to the present in order to better understand how our collective cultural imagination about who farms and why both reflects and shapes America’s farmed landscapes.
Instructor: Saskia Cornes, Ph.D.
Course numbers: ROMST 388S-01, CULANTH 389S-01, ITALIAN 388S-01, SOCIOL 388S-01
Curriculum codes: CCI, CZ, EI, S
Course Description: The function of food in society is not limited to mere sustenance. Food is an important source of cultural information and social meaning. Drawing from texts in multiple disciplines, in this course we will examine foodstuffs (products) and foodways (practices and rituals revolving around food) to understand their cultural significance and to gain insight into culturally specific ways of thinking semiotically about food. We will explore how identity, for instance, gender, ethnic, class, religious identities are constructed through food production, preparation and consumption. We will reflect on the role of food in our own lives and that of the contemporary United States, with attention to how foodways embody the experiences of local and immigrant communities in the Triangle area and in the US in general. Experiential learning approaches in and outside the classroom are an integral part of the course. These include field assignments, food logs, visits to food production, consumption and marketing sites (from farm to market, supermarket and convenience stores to “ethnic stores and eateries”, and food trucks and chain restaurants ) and a dinner lab where we will cook and share meals together. By the end of the course students will have a better understanding of the multiple meanings of food and its link to culture, politics, power and identity and will have acquired a broader perspective from which to engage with cultures other than their own.
Instructor: Luciana Fellin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of the Practice, Franklin Humanities Institute; Program Manager, Duke Campus Farm
Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies
Visiting Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment
Gendell Associate Professor of Energy Systems and Public Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
All students who are interested, regardless of documentation or citizenship status, are encouraged to apply; accommodations and opportunities will be made for students who are unable to travel. We welcome Durham-based DKU students and UNC Robertson Scholars to apply. Please email Duke Immerse director (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in participating. Complete the online application using MyExperientialEd.