Comparative Literature | Intro to Popular Culture: Food and Industry
C151 | 6028 | Lindsey Campbell-Badger


TR 1:00 -2:15 pm
Carries CS and A& H Credit

In the last five years more than a half dozen popular films have
detailed the horrors of the American food industry. Negative
publicity has forced corporations to scramble to put on new
(healthier) faces, and the public has been made slightly more leery
of highly processed lunchmeats and high-fructose corn syrup. The
Industry has responded with a spewing of new labels, among
them “organic,” “fair trade,” “free-range,” and the ubiquitous and
vague “natural.”  We must, however demand: Is this shift in
marketing and labeling enough? Is the media coverage of industrial
horror stories changing anything? And, in the meantime, how are our
bodies, our nation, and our greater world still affected by the
industry of food?

This class will examine the ways that issues of food and industry
have permeated popular culture in America. The semester will be
divided into units that examine the following three topics:
-The public face and less-public failures of the food industry in
America
-The effects of American corporations and political policies on the
food crisis in the third world
-Advocacy for changes in food production and consumption

In all units, special attention will be paid to the way in which
representations in film and literature engage the social issues of
food and industry. The course will focus on popular representations
in books, films, news-media, magazines, and the websites of internet-
based activist groups.

We will have regular movie screenings, and will also read selections
from the following books, which will be required for the course:
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health
Stuffed and Starved: the Hidden Battle for the World Food System
Stolen Harvest: the Hijacking of the Global Food Supply
Slow Food Nation: Why our Food Should be Good, Clean, and Fair
Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed