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Cooking, Eating, Thinking: Philosophy and Food

Faculty: Dr. George B. Connell

Food is on our minds today. Celebrity chefs appear on multiple food channels, an ever greater variety of restaurants open, and grocery stores carry an ever wider range of ingredients. At the same time, food insecurity and outright hunger threaten large sectors of the population, both within the United States and around the world. We will read a rich variety of writings on the questions of food, culture, ethics, and environment and supplement our readings with active experiences of cooking, eating, and visiting sites involved in the production and distribution of food.

Do We Care? Climate Justice, Faith and Sustainable Communities

Faculty: Dr. Hilda P. Koster

Climate change affects everyone, but not everyone is affected in the same way. While people in affluent parts of the world may simply worry about it (or, choose not to worry about it), others suffer from climate change in a very direct way. Moreover, people most affected are often also the people who contribute the least to our current climate crisis. Climate change thus brings together the twin issue of sustainability and (distributive) justice. How are we to care for one another in a time of increased vulnerability and inequity? How may we build communities that are just and sustainable? Do our religious traditions provide us with answers? Or, are they part of the problem? Besides reading texts by climate scientists, sociologists, political scientists, climate activists, religious scholars and ethicists, you will research and learn from initiatives by (religious) organizations, activists and businesses working towards a just and sustainable community in Fargo-Moorhead.  

In Search of Home: Immigrant and Refugee Children

In 2014 a record 69,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at our southern border. These children do not figure in the UN statistic that states that over half of the world’s refugee population is under the age of 18. Who are these young people, and what are their stories? This course studies the immigration and refugee crisis across the globe from the perspective of children. We will read stories about young people from several different countries who have traveled from their homeland, often alone, in search of family or a country to welcome them. The semester begins with local stories of immigrant youth, and we will work with English Language Learners at Fargo South high school as they write their own narratives about coming to the U.S. We will also visit several other places in our community that work with immigrants. As we engage with these people and their different stories, we will study policy and law, and discuss the current worldwide immigration crisis through the perspective of the many children living it.