Class close-up: ‘American Agrarians’

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019

Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) traveled to Hopewell Living History Farm with students in “American Agrarians: Ideas of Land, Labor, and Food” to tap maple trees and learn about processing sap, and the different products made on the farm using maple syrup.

“I like that this class isn’t academic in the traditional sense,” said Sofie Kim ’20, a PAW intern. “One of my hesitations for taking the class was that it is six hours a week, but I like that a lot of learning happens in ways different from a lot of other Princeton classes.”


The course meets for two seminar periods each week: On Tuesdays, students participate in traditional discussions and analyze texts related to agrarian thought. On Fridays, they apply that learning on field trips to five local farms and by working on a project to collect oral histories of agrarians in New Jersey.

Program in American Studies Associate Research Scholar Tessa Desmond, one of the course's two instructors, said she wants to help students “understand our relationship to the land a bit more and gain some sense of what they want to do with that recognition.”