University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Curriculum Associated with the University Symposium, Spring 2011

The following courses are associated with the University Symposium on Abundance and Scarcity:

Sustainability Studies Internship Course

SUST 4096, 2-4 credits
10:40-11:30, Wednesdays
370 VoTech Building, Institute on the Environment, St. Paul Campus
Instructor: David Wanberg is a Landscape Architect, Architect and Alliance for Sustainability Board Member.

Open to all majors. Intern for a government, non-profit or social entrepreneurship organization for 5-10 hours per week. Choose from a list of pre-approved internships or propose your own. You will reflect on and share your experience working on a sustainability project in a “real-world” context during weekly classroom meetings.

How We Talk about Fixing Food

CFAN3480, sec. 2 (1 credit)
3:35-5:30, January 19-March 9
Instr. Jerry Shannon (

Current academic research on agrifood systems is marked by a diverse and sometimes discordant set of concerns and questions. In this half semester course, students will study the approaches researchers from various disciplines take in attempting to improving these systems, covering research on four key topics: pathways to sustainability and its various definitions, the value we place on the industrial and domestic labor involved in food’s preparation, the alleviation of hunger and food insecurity, and the role of agriculture in local and regional development.

Through this class, we will describe the ways people in fields including Agronomy, Geography, Sociology, Public Health, and Public Policy think, talk, and work on fixing food, note how differences between groups make interdisciplinary work more difficult, and identify potential areas where more collaborative work may be possible.

This course is connected to “How to talk about feeding the world,” a symposium held on campus March 3 & 4 featuring many of the authors we will read. Students will be required to attend a significant part of this symposium and will participate in a poster session held during its first day. Students will be assigned an average of three academic articles/chapters a week to read and will also write a brief (4-5 pg.) final paper reflecting on and synthesizing course readings and activities.

Medical Consumerism

BTHX 8610, 3 credits
Tuesdays, 9:30-12:00 pm
East Bank
Instructor: Carl Elliott, PhD

Two related movements have emerged in American health care. The first is an emphasis on medical enhancement, or the use of medical technologies to improve the looks, performance and psychological well-being of people who are healthy. The second is the submission of the American health care system to the machinery of consumer capitalism. This seminar will use an interdisciplinary set of texts to explore the implications of medical consumerism. How is the consumerist model of medicine shaping our concepts of disease and disability? What larger historical developments have led to our current situation? How are the tools of medical enhancement shaping the way we think about our identities and the way we live our lives?

To register, go to the class schedule. More information can be found on the course guide or from the individual departments or instructors.

If you would like to receive e-mail notification of IAS events, please send us an e-mail.

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