Course Ecologies of Eating: Landscapes, agriculture, and food


Course leader: Heather Anne Swanson

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Arts

Course fee: 0.00 DKK

Status: Course is open for application

Semester: Spring 2023

Application deadline: 14/04/2023

Start date: 01/05/2023

Administrator: Henriette Jaquet


All students are placed on a waiting list until we reach application deadline.


How can insights into questions of landscape transformation and ecological sustainability foster new questions about everyday food production and ordinary acts of eating? This course – jointly organised by FOCUS: Centre for Food Culture Studies and the AU Centre for Environmental Humanities – takes up this question by combining recent ethnographies on food/agricultural dilemmas with field excursions to local sites where those dilemmas unfold in practice. Through this structure, the course also asks: How can traditional academic formats and hands-on explorations work together to enhance our understandings of such critical issues?

The course will also bolster students’ skills in analyzing monographs – an important scholarly practice in itself, as well as a useful technique for developing the structure of one’s own dissertation chapters and frame.

Each course day will be thematically guided by a recent environmental ethnography, with the first day focused on critical analysis of industrial food production and the second on more-than-human lifeways within fractured worlds

We will begin each day with a seminar focused on its respective ethnography, in-depth discussion of its questions and arguments, and broader discussions about techniques of anthropological analysis. In the afternoon, we will move off-campus to ask how field engagements (i.e. excursions designed to complement core questions from the texts) contribute to and reshape our practices of reading and thinking.


The course readings will consist of two books that students should read in their entirety:

Hetherington, Kregg, 2020. The Government of Beans: Regulating Life in the Age of Monocrops (Duke University Press)

Jasarevic, Larisa. Forthcoming. Beekeeping in the End Times (to be distributed to course participants in manuscript form)

Target group/Participants

The course is designed for PhD students in anthropology, but would also be appropriate for PhD students from across the humanities. Both early and late stage PhD students are welcome. 




The morning sessions will be classroom-based seminars, with introductory remarks by the instructors and active discussion from participants. The afternoons will feature field trips and reflection activities based on those outings. 

To facilitate course discussions, students are expected to bring an approximately two-page reading response paper to each course day (to include identification of main arguments, analysis of key insights, and questions sparked by the assigned texts).

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the final assignment, a 3-5 page essay reflecting on how concrete insights from the course readings, discussions and excursions can contribute to specific aspects of their own dissertation research project.

ECTS credits

2.0 ECTS with reading responses, but without final assignment

2.5 ECTS with both reading responses and final assignment

25 hours reading

10 hours reading response papers

15 hours in-class hours

12.5 hours for final assignment preparation

(1 ECTS credit normally requires 25 hours of workload, including student preparation, home assignments, course hours and exams.)


Anna Tsing, Professor, Anthropology, AU and University of California, Santa Cruz,

Susanne Højlund Petersen, Associate Professor, Anthropology, AU,

Heather Anne Swanson, Professor Anthropology, AU, and Director, Centre for Environmental Humanities,


Campus Aarhus, AIAS Building 1632, room 203

Course dates:

  • 01 May 2023 09:00 - 16:30
  • 02 May 2023 09:00 - 16:30