This is most recent syllabus. Your final syllabus will be given during your first day of class
Note: This course is an “optional course” of the Food & Sustainability Studies curriculum. It may be taken individually. You do not have to be enrolled in the Food Studies Program to take this course. However, priority will be given to students participating directly in the Food & Sustainability Studies Program during initial enrollments.
This course will address food-related issues from an anthropological perspective. It will examine the role that food plays in shaping: group and personal identities, ethnicities in a global world, religious and cultural boundaries through taboos, avoidances, rituals, and the revitalization of local communities. Through readings assignments and ethnographic research in different settings, students will explore how “food traditions” and “local food” are maintained and transformed over time and space, and how culinary knowledge is used by people to mark cultural and social differences. The course will focus on food as heritage through an analysis of culinary tourism, food in urban settings, the culture of restaurants, and UNESCO protection of “endangered” diets. Furthermore, it will apply gendered perspectives on the body, and analyze power dynamics in Italian families through food consumption and preparation. Students will study food as a site of cultural transmission, but also of dissent and resistance. The course incorporates a semester-long ethnographic project on food producers and restaurants in Umbria. Through these exercises in qualitative research, students will become active participants in the local community and engage in original research in and out the classroom.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- increase their understanding of how individual food behaviors are shaped by the foodways of their society;
- learn to approach cultural differences with an unbiased framework;
- increase their knowledge of Italian culture through the examination of the food practices of individuals and communities;
- be able to recognize the cultural, political, and economic value of food; and
- recognize the efforts behind organizations and museums that promote and develop food-related cultural events.
Mandatory course reader
Excursions to typical Perugian restaurants and food artisans.