Course code:



M - Intermediate

Lab fee:


Typically offered:


France has long been a hotbed of radical food politics. Current day leaders include José Bové and the Confédération Paysanne, Greenpeace France, and the anonymous “faucheurs volontaires” (harvesters) of genetically engineered maize.

Yet well before GMOs made French food politics famous around the world, French producers were protecting their local products with designations of Appellation d’Origine Contrôllée, and using international legal accords to prevent the use of the term “champagne” for any sparkling wine produced outside of the region of Champagne.

In this course we will explore the history and politics of several contemporary issues of food politics within France and the European Union (EU), such as: the GMO debate; laws protecting seeds, cheese, and wines; agriculture linked with climate change politics leading up to COP21 in Paris; and elements of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, through readings and direct interactions with key figures on those issues. Through our study of food politics in France, students will become familiar with the European political institutions, and over the term will learn the workings of and functional relationships among the European Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the European Commission.

Students will travel to Paris, Brussels, and Marseille during the last two weeks of the term to meet with key political figures. Readings will be primarily in French. Discussion will involve as much French as the group language capacity allows. Students will be evaluated based on participation in class discussions, regular writing assignments based on the readings, and a final project.


Permission of instructor

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