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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2007

GOV 370L • Politics of food in America

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40165 MW
3:00 PM-4:30 PM
PAR 203

Course Description

This course examines the political history, current law and practices, and ethics and philosophy of how food is produced and consumed in the United States. The course addresses several crucial components of this subject: (1) the origins and history of food production and consumption in the United States; (2) the dangers posed to Americans from unsafe foods and beverages (such as meat, milk, and alcohol); (3) the regulation of food products, especially with the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the trade and consumption of alcoholic beverages; (4) the bureaucratic history of the Food and Drug Administration, and before that, the Dept. of Agriculture; (5) the constitutional law on governmental regulation of food and drink; (6) the development of the fast food industry and mass-produced food more generally; (6) the origin and influence of social movements, such as those for the prohibition of alcohol, against the production and consumption of tobacco products, and for "slow food" (as opposed to fast food); and (7) the philosophy and ethics of food production and human consumption.

Grading Policy

Students are responsible for quizzes, take-home tests, and a research project.


Schlosser, Eric. 2001. Fast Food Nation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Other texts to be determined.


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