Beyond Sustainability

Published on 15 June 2023 at 15:26

In period 6 we helped four professors spanning three chairgroups with their course on post- and anti-capitalist food futures. We did not design the course, but they approached us to ask us to take part in the public outreach of the course; both by helping with it's promotion - including the poster - and by organizing an open lecture series that allowed people not enrolled in the course to dabble in the radical perspectives it provides. As Otherwise, focussed on finding practitioners to complement the theorists already involved in the course.


This course examines radical and critical theories of change that explicitly challenge the dominant, corporate-led and neo-liberal global food system. In the course we seek to problematize and re-theorize often taken for granted categories that the status quo of our food system is built around – sustainability; technology; production; economy; growth; and capitalism itself. Food and food systems are deeply political, shaped by historical structures. Yet, food systems are also shaped by the everyday practices of human and non-human actors. The course therefore does not adopt an a-priori ontology of food system change, but rather explores radical alternatives that theorize change across the structure-agency divide. Theoretical approaches examined in the course include Marxist agrarian political economy, racial capitalism, diverse economies, and feminist political ecology. We discuss each theoretical approach in relation to four cross-cutting themes of food system change: land; labour; difference; and ecology. The course also examines social movements that seek to enact radical change, and the institutions that stand in the way. This includes problematizing the role of the neoliberal university in realizing just food futures.

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