FSS > Undergraduate Division > Letters & Science > UC Berkeley

Integrative Biology 24, Section 5
Ethnobiology, Nutrition, and Global Food Systems (1 unit, P/NP)
Professor Thomas Carlson
Tuesday 10:00-11:00, 4110 Valley Life Sciences Building, Class number: 15834

We will explore the ethnobiological systems around the world that generate thousands of different species of plants and animals eaten by humans. We will examine the historical, cultural, commercial, and biological factors that have resulted in the worldwide consumption of certain plant and animal species. We will also compare the nutritional qualities, health effects, and carbon footprint of conventional industrial food, organic food, locally grown food, and food that is hunted or gathered. In this seminar we will read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and view the documentary film Food Inc. Any interested Freshmen are welcome.

Thomas Carlson is a physician and ethnobotanist who is on the faculty of the Department of Integrative Biology and is Curator of Ethnobotany in the University and Jepson Herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley. He has conducted food plant and medicinal plant research with, and provided medical care for, over forty different ethno-linguistic groups in fifteen different countries in South America, Central America, North America, Africa, Asia, and Pacific Islands. Tom’s multidisciplinary work with diverse institutions, biocultural environments, and communities has helped illuminate how local indigenous ethnobotanical systems contribute to human health and ecosystem health.


Faculty web site: http://ib.berkeley.edu/people/faculty/carlsont

"This was an amazing class. Professor Carlson was the best professor I've had at Cal. He is extremely knowledgeable in so many fields in addition to biology, including history and religion. I learned so much about human nutrition." - student in spring 2015 seminar

"It was cool learning about the edible plants in the area and sampling different weeds." - student in fall 2014 seminar

"Dr. Carlson seriously knows what he's talking about. He's had tons of experience in many different parts of the world - you will learn!" - fall 2013 seminar

"Carlson was very outgoing and delightful. He encouraged discussion and promoted asking questions." - spring 2011 seminar

"Very intimate environment with a passionate professor and very interested students - job well done." - spring 2011 seminar
Freshman and Sophomore Seminars are co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Division
of the College of Letters & Science and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.
For further information about the program,
contact Alix Schwartz (alix@berkeley.edu / 642-8378).

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