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Hon H2060-003
Food Systems in World Historical Perspective
Spring 2018

Instructors: Prof. Pamela E. Mack, Department of History,
                        email: pammack@clemson.edu, Office: Hardin 006  (
basement level), office hours MWF 8-9 am and 10-11 am

                    Prof. Dil Thavarajah, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
                        email: dthavar@clemson.edu, office: 270 PAS
Class meetings: MWF 11:15-12:05 in Core Campus 162

Description: How will we feed 10 billion people, even with population growth slowing? This course starts from the history of agriculture and food systems to provide context for an understanding of food and nutrition insecurity. We will discuss history, agricultural science, primary and alternative food systems, and nutrition in America and the world.

20% historical paper (extra credit will be added manually to the historical paper grade)
5% reading responses
15% debate
10% class participation
20% group project paper
20% group project presentation
10% personal reflection
Numerical grades out of 100 will be converted to final letter grades by the system 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, below 60=F.

Requirements: Discussing, analyzing and drawing conclusions from the reading will be central to the course, so it is essential that you do the reading and come prepared to discuss it in class. No one book provides an overview for this course; you will quickly find yourself lost if you do not attend class.  Please explain all absences (either send a "sorry I missed class" e-mail or speak to Prof. Mack after class when you return). There may be a penalty for excessive absences (usually missing more than 4 classes).   If the professor or a substitute does not arrive within 10 minutes of the scheduled starting time of the class, students may leave.

Group Projects: Each group of three students will pick a different region (North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Australia, Caribbean). Pick one country or state within your region and imagine that you have been hired by the UN to recommend changes to the food system that can be accomplished with a budget of $15 million.  Discuss history, health problems, and recommended solutions.

Papers: The two papers should be about 5 typed pages and should be documented with footnotes or endnotes using MLA, Chicago or APA format.  Papers must be analytical; that is, they must ask a question or state a thesis and then develop an argument using specific evidence to prove a point. Papers will be evaluated primarily on the basis of your ability to use evidence and argument to effectively prove your point. Another key evaluation criteria will be for the narrative to go beyond content covered in class. Late papers will be downgraded five points (out of one hundred) for each calendar day late.  

Academic Integrity: As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson's vision of this institution as a "high seminary of learning."  Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others.  Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree.  Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.  This includes representing someone else's work as your own or handing in the same paper to two different courses without permission of the instructors.

History 122 When, in the opinion of a faculty member, there is evidence that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member shall make a formal written charge of academic dishonesty, including a description of the misconduct, to the Associate Dean for Curriculum in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. At the same time, the faculty member may, but is not required to, inform each involved student privately of the nature of the alleged charge.

Turn off sound in class or group situations.  The fundamental rule for laptops in this course is that you should use your laptop or other devices in class only for tasks directly related to this course.  In addition to tasks the professor asks you to do on your laptop, you may use it to take notes, to view course material, or to browse to web sites related to the material being discussed in class.  Do not email, instant message, chat, do homework, download music, look at Facebook, or play games during class.  Cell phones should be turned off during class--it is not appropriate to test during class or to leave the room in the middle of class to answer a phone call except in an emergency.

General Education:  This course meets the STS general education requirements.  The prompt is:

Required Reading:
Reading should be done before the class day for which an assignment is listed.  Some readings are online and are linked from the online syllabus.

Judith A. Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff, In the Shadow of Slavery (University of California Press, 2009)
Paul Conkin, A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929
Current policy and scientific papers to be provided via Canvas. Dr. Thavarajah will provide current scientific publications and other published documents from leading biofortification researchers, including the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other international agencies (USDA, FAO, UNICEF, WHO, USAID, and CG centers).


  Jan. 10
  Jan. 12
  The long history of agriculture (PM)
  Jan. 17
  Jan. 19
  Carney introduction and ch. 1 (PM)
  Jan. 22
  Carney 2
  Jan. 24
  Why food systems? (DT, notes in Canvas), Carney 3
  Jan. 26
  Carney 4
 Jan. 29
  Carney 5
 Jan. 31
  Carney 6
 Feb. 2   Carney 7
 Feb. 5
  Carney 8
 Feb. 7
  Carney 9
 Feb. 9
  Carney 10
 Feb. 12-14
Introduction/global nutritional  overview  (DT)
§  Green revolution
§  Fighting malnutrition issues

§  Issues of food production distribution, and cost.
 Feb. 19-23

Develop a concept map of food systems (DT)

§  Introduction to food systems, conceptual model of the food systems, components of food systems, complexities of linking food systems to human health.
  Feb. 26
  Conkin 1 (PM)
  Feb. 28
  Conkin 2

March 2

 The Plow that Broke the Plains (film)

March 5

Conkin 3
 March 7
  Conkin 4
 March 9
 Conkin 5

March 12

Conkin 6

 March 14
  Conkin 7
 March 16
  Conkin 8

March 26, 28, 30

Fashioning healthful agricultural systems (DT)

§  An agenda for a healthy food system.

§  Issues facing American food systems.

§  The food system and its interaction with human health.

April 2,4,6

Concept of biofortification

§  Biofortification: breeding for increased nutrient bioavailability

§  Past and future work related to biofortification: lessons from global biofortification efforts of USA and Canada (HarvestPlus, micronutrient initiative, FAO, and WHO).

§  Successful case studies of staple food biofortification efforts to combat global malnutrition (cereals, pulses, vegetables, and tuber crops).

§  Sustainable agriculture practices to prevent malnutrition.

April 9,11,13

Guest lectures from experts from Food security

§  Dr. Stephan Kresovich

§  Mr. Charles Wingard

April 16, 18, 20

Debate April 18

Local food system, Group project written reports due

§  Feed and Seed lecture – Mr. Mike McGirr

§  Post-harvest food technologies for designing healthy foods

§  Reduce food waste

§  Tiger Gardens – lessons from CU CI team

April 23, 25, 27

Group project presentations

May 1, 10:30 am
Personal reflection due