A Signature Education Initiative of Duke University

Food Studies

Fall 2018

Imagining Food Futures

Bringing scholars in the natural sciences and the humanities together to explore how food is grown, who grows it, how we talk about this, and why it matters.

Where will our food come from in the year 2067? Will we have what we need to nourish a growing global population? How will climate change impact how we feed ourselves? 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. 

Taking as its 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. In its first iteration, this DukeImmerse will combine coursework, field work on the Duke Campus Farm and field-based study throughout North Carolina.

Imagining Food Futures takes three interlocking approaches:

  1. Through an introduction to basic plant ecophysiology, students will examine the growth response and yield of plants in changing climatic conditions.
  2. Experiential learning at the Duke Campus Farm will allow students the opportunity to both put science into practice and enact alternatives to the current industrial agrifood system.
  3. By critically examining food and farming in literary texts and other in forms of cultural production, students will critically consider the relationship between narrative representations of food and farming.

Prerequisite: Writing 101

Application: Applications for Fall 2018 will be available early Spring 2018. 

Course fee: TBD; Duke provides additional grant aid to cover the cost of any course fee for all students receiving financial aid. The course fee is in addition to tuition, room and board. Contact Duke's Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support (finaid@duke.edu) for more information. 

Lead Faculty

Duke Campus Farm Program Manager
Assistant Professor of the Practice, Biology & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Nicholas School for the Environment

Contact Saskia Cornes (saskia.cornes@duke.edu) or Chantal Reid (chantal@duke.edu) for more information.


Number Title Crosslistings
BIO 228-01 How Plants Feed/Fuel the World: Nuts & Bolts of Plant Growth & Production NS, STS ENVIRON 228-01
ENVIRON 290S-01 Special Topics: Land and Literature ALP, CCI, CZ, EI, W GSF 290S-03