2019-2020 Catalog

Food Studies


Food studies is a burgeoning, interdisciplinary, inherently politicized field of scholarship, practice, and art that examines the relationship between food and all aspects of the human experience, including culture and biology, individuals and society, global pathways and local contexts. 

The minor invites the growing number of students interested in food to advance their research and classroom studies of complex food related issues across a broad range of curricula. The program provides a curricular offering and intellectual framework to complement the co-curricular energy around food on campus, increasing the rigor and discipline with which students use food as a lens for exploration and critical thinking. 

With exposure to interdisciplinary resources across the breadth of liberal arts, students will learn to: 

  • Understand the complex contemporary and historical factors that affect food production and consumption as well as human physiological dietary needs.
  • Consider food system options, comparing their environmental, sociocultural, economic, and health impacts. 
  • Think critically about food and agricultural challenges and recommendations.
  • Develop ideas about how they can contribute to food system solutions and explore multiple pathways to transformation.

Minor Requirements


Students must complete 20 units of food-related courses. Courses must be taken from a minimum of two different departments. At least three courses applied to the food studies minor must be taken outside the student’s major program.

Students must complete at least one course from the following:

KINE 210Nutrition and Homeostasis

4 units

SOC 240Sociology of Food

4 units

UEP 306Food and the Environment

4 units


DWA 283Soft Power: How Nations Interact Without War

4 units

HIST 346The Transformation of Urban and Rural China

4 units

KINE 298Community Health and Fitness Research

2 units

KINE 306Biochemistry of Exercise and Energy

4 units

KINE 398Community Health and Fitness Research

2 units

PSYC 490Contemporary Topics Seminar

4 units

RELS 205Holy Sh*t!: Engaging the Materiality of Religion

4 units

UEP 101Environment and Society

4 units

UEP 246Applied Projects in Sustainability

2 units

UEP 247Sustainable Oxy: Urban Agriculture and Sustainable Landscape Practicum

2 units

UEP 303Sustainable Development

4 units

Students may also apply MUSC 385 as an elective for the Food Studies minor if they have enrolled in the "Music and Food" section of the course.

Only select topics of UEP 295 have been approved to apply as an elective. See program chair for more information. Students must file the appropriate paperwork with the Registrar's Office in order to apply this course to the minor.

Transfer Credit Policies

Courses approved for transfer by the appropriate department or program will be considered to apply toward the Food Studies minor. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for details.


Regular Faculty

John T. Lang, chair

Associate Professor, Sociology

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Rutgers University

Advisory Committee

Alexander F. Day

Associate Professor, History

B.A., Colby College; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Carmel Levitan

Associate Professor, Cognitive Science

B.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Marcella Raney

Associate Professor, Kinesiology

A.B., Occidental College; Ph.D., University of Southern California 

Affiliated Faculty

Brian Clearwater

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Core Program

B.A., University of Tennessee; M.A., PhD., University of California, Santa Barbara

Nancy Dess
Professor, Psychology
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles; Ph.D., University of Minnesota

John Chung-En Liu

Assistant Professor, Sociology

B.S., National Taiwan University; M.A., Yale University; M.E.M., Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa

Associate Professor, Religious Studies

B.A., Victoria University of Wellington; Ph.D., Australian National University 

Andrew Jalil

Associate Professor, Economics

A.B., Sc.B., Brown University; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

David Kasunic

Associate Professor, Music

B.A., Amherst College; M.F.A., Ph.D., Princeton University 

Martha Matsuoka

Associate Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

A.B., Occidental College; M.C.P., University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Clair Morrissey

Associate Professor, Philosophy

B.A., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; M.A., Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Bhavna Shamasunder

Associate Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.S./B.A., University of California, San Diego; M.ES., Yale University; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Jane Schmitz

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.A., Tufts University; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Derek Shearer

Stuart Chevalier Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., Yale University; Ph.D., The Union Graduate School