Population, Food, and Traditional Farming (3) This course explores the relationship between demographic processes (fertility, mortality, migration) and traditional farming, especially farming near the subsistence level.
ANTH 575 Population, Food, and Traditional Farming (3)
This course explores the complex relationship between demographic processes and traditional agriculture. It starts with the premise that traditional agriculture, at least agriculture near the subsistence level, is primarily demographic in its motivation: the main purpose of a small-scale, preindustrial family farm is to create and support a family – i.e. produce children (fertility) and keep them alive (survival). This idea will be the starting point for re-examining existing theories about population and agriculture, and for formulating new models of the traditional farming household as a demographic enterprise.
Some of the topics to be addressed include: (1)the slippery concepts of ‘population pressure', ‘over-population', ‘population regulation', ‘carrying capacity', and ‘sustainability'; (2) some basic ecology and economics of subsistence production and consumption; (3) the debate over agricultural intensification; (4) the effects of under-nutrition on fertility and mortality; (5) the nature of the household labor force; (6) the household demographic life cycle and its economic implications; (7) seasonality and the allocation of household labor; (8) the demography of the ‘hungry season' (9) risk management and food shortages; and (10) household wealth differentials and their demographic implications.
The first half of the course will be in lecture format, the second will be more like a seminar. At about the mid-point of the semester, students will split into groups of 2-4 (depending on class size). Each group will select an ethnographic/demographic/economic monograph on traditional agriculture from a list provided by the instructor, prepare and present a PowerPoint presentation on it, and lead an extended classroom discussion of it. Each presentation ought to take up at least two or three class periods. The course grade will be based on the presentation and on general seminar participation (approximately 80 percent presentation and 20 percent participation, including doing the required readings).
This course should appeal to graduate students and advanced undergraduates in anthropology, geography, crop and soil science, demography, rural sociology, agricultural economics, and behavioral ecology.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.