My research interests are reflected in my teaching and graduate student supervision. I have taught courses on the sociology of culture, food and globalization with an emphasis on inequality, social justice, sustainability, and consumer politics. I supervise graduate students who work on a variety of topics relating to food, the environment, and consumer culture. A few of the graduate students with whom I am currently working include:
Selected Graduate Courses
FST 1000: Comparative Research Methods in Food Studies
This course introduces key multidisciplinary methods in the study of food, its production, distribution, and consumption. It uses approaches in the humanities and social sciences to understand the dynamics of the global food system, as well as the ways that food shapes personal and collective identities of race, class, gender, and nation. This is a core course for the Collaborative Specialization in Food Studies.
Selected Undergraduate Courses
SOC 317 (UTM): Shopping and Society
What is consumption and what are commodities? What is distinct about consumer culture? How is shopping sociologically significant? In this course, we will attempt to address all of these questions. After a broad introduction to the sociology of consumption, we will use case studies to examine consumer culture in greater detail and in specific settings. Each case-study will provide a lens to better understand sociology, but also to better understand our place in consumer culture. For each consumer case study we will: 1) Identify how the consumption case-study has sociological significance; 2) Connect consumption to our social identities (how do consumers use this item to say something about who they are, and/or who they want to be?; 3) Examine the relationship between the case-study and social inequality; we may also consider the consumption case-study’s impact on ecological sustainability.
SOC 336 (UTM): Environmental Sociology
This course is focused on studying and understanding human-nature interactions, and the social processes that modify and threaten the natural world. This course will allow you to gain a better understanding of environmental issues, as well as the interrelationship between social problems and environmental issues. You will also confront the fact that you too are a part of nature! We will look at various environmental problems and solutions through a sociological lens. The course begins with a broad brush overview of environmental sociology. We will cover topics such as the social construction of nature, the political economy of environmental destruction, environmental inequalities and environmental justice, public engagements with environmental science, managing environmental risks in daily life, environmental solutions, environmental activism. You will be encouraged to constructively and critically evaluate market-based solutions, individual consumer-based solutions, state policies, and civil society solutions to environmental problems.
SOC 349 (UTM): Sociology of Food
In this course, you are encouraged to think more deeply about the food that sustains you. The topic of food is particularly rich, sociologically, because it allows us to make direct connections between academic research and our daily lives. The course is designed to take full advantage of that, encouraging you to make linkages through classroom discussion and weekly writing. In the first half of the course, we will look at issues of food production. We will look at some of the major issues of conventional industrial agricultural production – especially sustainability, hunger, obesity, and malnutrition. In the second half of the course, we turn to the cultural politics of food, and tackle issues like the gendered distribution of food labour, the search for the exotic “Other” through food, and the rise of Food Network celebrities like Jamie Oliver.