ENVS 052. Chinese Food Culture and Farming: Traditions and Transitions

(Cross-listed as CHIN 086 , LITR 086CG )
While the challenging problem of feeding one fifth of the world's population with only seven percent of the world's arable land remains a priority in Chinese agricultural policy, extensive environmental degradation and innumerable food scandals have shifted the primary concern of food supply to issues of food safety, from quantity to quality.  The class will focus on the challenges and successes of such a turn to a more ecologically friendly agricultural production and food processing industry. In addition, rapid changes in food preferences displace more traditional diets and redirect agricultural production, especially towards production of meat, bringing in foreign private equity firms like KKR and US food conglomerates like Tyson Foods.  These changes also affect traditional regional food cultures. This interdisciplinary class (Environmental Studies, Economics, Sociology, Biology, humanities and Chinese Studies) will explore the following key topics:

  • From food security to food safety - the ecological turn in China's agriculture
  • Organic farming in China - challenges and successes of state and private organic farm initiatives
  • Ministry plans and China's new farmers
  • Regional food traditions
  • The role of restaurants in Chinese culture

Prerequisite: Some knowledge of Chinese culture or language is preferred but not required.
1 credit.
Eligible for ENVS, ASIA
Catalog chapter: Environmental Studies  
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/environmental-studies

Check the Spring 2018 Schedule of Courses

Check the Fall 2018 Schedule of Courses

Print this page.Print this Page