Apr 15, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Food Studies Integrative Concentration

The integrative concentration consists of a minimum of 5 courses (or the equivalent), 1 experiential component, and a learning portfolio.

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the integrative concentration.

The food studies integrative concentration invites students to critically examine food and agriculture from a range of perspectives: as embedded within social and cultural practices; as shaped by histories, politics, and economic policies; and as a determining factor for human and environmental health. This growing field examines issues that cross disciplinary boundaries and connect the local and the global. The food studies curriculum highlights the importance of interdisciplinary inquiry and, through community engaged internships and courses, trains students in ethical, respectful, and reciprocal collaboration.

The course work and experiential learning demonstrates the value of a curriculum grounded in our location and its history. Our academic courses and experiential learning build on Oberlin’s relationships with local organizations, integrating applied research opportunities through campus growing operations and partnership with Oberlin Community Services (OCS), Lorain County Community College (LCCC), the City of Elyria, Grafton Correctional Facility, and urban farms in Lorain County and Cleveland. Through commitments to understanding and supporting Black agrarianism, Indigenous food sovereignty, immigrant workers, incarcerated citizens, and environmental and food justice, our food studies curriculum centers analysis of ethics, justice, reparations, decolonization, and sustainability, and practices of growing, cooking, farming, storytelling, community organizing, hospitality, and social care.

arrow Visit the concentration’s web page for more information.

Note(s) on Requirements

  • 16 of the 20 required credits may not be applied to another major, minor, or integrative concentration.
  • If a student wishes to count a course that is not listed below toward the concentration, they can petition the concentration chair(s) for approval to apply the completed or in-progress course toward their concentration.
  • In planning their schedules, students should be aware that some of the courses listed below have prerequisites.

Learning Goals

Students who successfully complete an integrative concentration in food studies will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of food studies concepts that are essential in understanding a field that is fundamentally interdisciplinary and crosses arts and architecture, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and policy and economics;
  • Understand how food and agriculture impact human health and environmental systems, and how food and agriculture can contribute to health disparities and food apartheid as well as how this field can contribute to more just, sustainable, and vibrant urban and rural communities;
  • Recognize and value the knowledge of Indigenous, enslaved, Black, urban, rural, and immigrant communities, including the expertise held by farmers, farmworkers, cooks, and food justice activists;
  • Communicate the ethical, political, and scientific bases for food democracy and sustainable agriculture to a range of audiences;
  • Learn to engage in respectful, reciprocal, and ethical relationships with communities, such as urban farmers, immigrant farmworkers, rural landowners, and participants in nonprofit food programs;
  • Place the industrial U.S. food system–its organizational structure, policies, and objectives–in comparison to food and agricultural systems throughout history and in other countries, as well as with local and organic systems;
  • Understand the complex interrelationships between the local and the global for food systems and food justice; and
  • Gain practical experience through an internship and community based learning courses.

Declaring the Integrative Concentration

Students wishing to complete the food studies integrative concentration should consult with a member of the concentration advisory group and complete the integrative concentration declaration/change form. The form requires the signature of the concentration chair.

Laura Baudot (College Dean’s Office, English)

arrow See the full list of Food Studies Integrative Concentration Advisory Group members.

Detailed Integrative Concentration Requirements

Food Studies Integrative Concentration Course Lists

Experiential Component

All students are required to pursue some form of food-related community engagement. This can be through a course with the CBL (community-based learning) attribute  or a community-engaged internship or research project. Oberlin’s existing community partners offer a wide range of possibilities for students to meet this requirement, including: Oberlin Community Services (OCS), Grafton Correctional Institution and Reintegration Center, the Food Shed, Cleveland Roots, Stone Soup CLE, and the Immigrant Worker Project.

The concentration is designed to afford maximal accessibility for students, including BIPOC, lower income, first generation, and undocumented students. All students, regardless of documentation, are eligible for assistantships and internships. We recognize that programs like Willing Workers on Organic Farms are not affordable for all students, especially those who need to earn money for college during breaks. Students will be able to fulfill the experiential requirement during the academic year through volunteer service with partners or through community-based work study at a relevant site. A winter term or summer internship/research project is also an option for students. The Mellon grant will also provide funding for paid internships for students.

Learning Portfolio

Students are required to maintain a learning portfolio that will include signature course work and documentation of experiential learning. The portfolio is a means for students to draw together the theory from the curricular component with the practice from the experiential component. Students should begin the learning portfolio upon declaration of the food studies integrative concentration and use it as a means to reflect on and chronicle their evolving understanding of and interests in the field. Ultimately, the learning portfolio will serve as a curated sample of work for graduate school or prospective employers.

Food Studies Integrative Concentration Advisory Group

Laura Baudot (College Dean’s Office, English), co-chair
Thom Dawkins (Bonner Center), co-chair

Grace An (French, Cinema Studies)
Ruby Beil (Sustainable Agriculture Program Coordinator, Environmental Science, Lorain County Community College)
Jay Fiskio (Environmental Studies)
Carmen Merport Quiñones (Comparative American Studies)
Evgeniya Moskaleva (Economics)
Tom Newlin (Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies)
Angela Roles (Biology)
Danielle Sheehan (Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; English)
Ellen Wurtzel (History)