Hunger, Plenty & Justice


This course will examine the extent of hunger, malnutrition and starvation in the world. The past, present and future world food supply will be considered in terms of the social factors that determine food production and distribution. Political, economic, religious, historical, geographic, and other dimensions of hunger will be reviewed. A major objective of this course is to not only develop a general perspective on world hunger, but also to explore solutions to this economic, social and ethical quandary. Do the actions of international organizations (United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization, and so on) alleviate suffering and create a road map forward? How do governmental policies, technological change, international trading patterns, and private interests (both corporate and individual) affect the way in which food is produced, processed and distributed? These issues will be analyzed in light of global food interdependence.

We will explore specific issues affecting hunger, including population growth, environmental destruction, and the debt crisis. We will analyze current debates on the role of technology, specifically genetic engineering, in food production and hunger alleviation. We will examine how gender bias, as a primary cause of poverty, prevents hundreds of millions of women from obtaining the education, training, health services, child care and legal status needed to escape poverty. Gender bias thus works to prevent poor women from escaping conditions of hunger and malnutrition. Finally, we will investigate local, national, and international approaches to the eradication of hunger.