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The Rise of the Modern Food System


FIRST CLASS: Thursday 06 October 2022, 6pm-7.30pm


This is a credit bearing course but can also be taken as a non-credit bearing course.

Discover the difference between our credit bearing and non-credit bearing courses.

The Rise of the Modern Food System short course considers questions surrounding the production, supply, preparation, consumption and disposal of food which have become central to the study of politics and society.

We will examine key debates about the origins of agricultural production, the legacy of colonialism and imperialism for the food system, the impact of food on the development of capitalism, the state’s role in the regulation of food production and consumption, and the limits of a ‘cultural’ as opposed to a ‘political’ approach to the question of food and social relations.

This cross-disciplinary course incorporates political-theoretical, historical-sociological, cultural-anthropological and public policy literatures into the syllabus.

We aim to cover:

  • The Agricultural Revolution
  • The Columbian Exchange
  • The State and Food
  • Food, War and the State System
  • Capitalism and the Food System
  • Industrial Food
  • Food Nationalism
  • The Biopolitics of Alcohol
  • The Consuming Body

The Rise of the Modern Food System short course is ideal if you have an interest in the political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the production, distribution and consumption of food and drink. You may have studied politics and social sciences at university, or work in an area related to food and drink in politics, policy and public life, or in the food industry.

Assessment is via a 3000-word essay (90%) and three seminar logs (10%).

15 credits at level 6

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.