Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

This course will provide an introduction to global issues in agriculture today, with an emphasis on the controversies surrounding the use of genetic engineering in agriculture.

We start with a careful study of critical issues facing agriculturalists and, indeed, all of us, to give students a broad overview of food production and agriculture globally. In the first half of the course, we will consider: the Green Revolution and technological developments over the last half-century; global trade in agriculture and impacts of major free trade agreements; famine, food aid, and food sovereignty; and neo-Malthusian perspectives on food production and critiques of those perspectives.

In the second half of the course, we turn our attention to the science and politics of the new genetic technologies and potential social, economic, and ecological impacts of their use in agriculture. We will examine socio-political and ecological problems associated with transgenic soy production in South America and cotton production in India and China. We will also explore problems of contamination resulting from imports of transgenic maize into Mexico and canola exports from Canada to Japan.

To conclude the course we will consider strategies of resistance throughout the world to the introduction of genetically engineered crops. Evaluation will be based on three written problem sets (8-10 pages each) and class participation.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.