About the Class

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“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” – Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
The Spring 2012 Politics of Food course was taught by professor Charlie Thompson and Ryan Nilsen. In our quest to answer the questions as to why Latinos harvest and process a majority of our food in the United States, we strove to understand the structure of agriculture and the history of US food and labor, as well as something of the history of Mexico, its border with the US, immigration and farmwork. We looked for answers to questions such as “What forces have tied the US to its neighbor to the South?”, “Why is food labor cheaper than most other labor?” and “What does this have to do with cheap food in the US?”
This class was part of the BorderWorks Lab with the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. We also worked with the guidance of Student Action with Farmworkers, the Perkins Library Exhibition Staff and the Rubenstein Library Staff to complete the exhibition component of our course work.