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  • Discipline(s): Sociology
  • Available: Summer Session I Summer Session II
  • Course Type: Standard Courses
  • Taught in: English, Italian
  • Course Fee: 85 $
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Travel: None

SOC 349: The History and Culture of Food in Italy (Summer)


  • This course was formerly HSIT 349.

Course Description
What can you learn about Italian culture through an exploration of the history of food in Italy? By examining the radical changes that have occurred in Italian food-ways, the pronounced differences in eating habits of different socio-economic classes, and the important role played by food in shaping Italian national and regional identities, we will uncover various trends in Italian history and society. These include the gradual process of political unification, the effects of industrialization, the role of Italian migrant communities in forging new food cultures, food and gender relations, contemporary rediscovery of “typical” foods as responses to globalizing processes and ways to construct new social identities.

The purpose of this course is to use food as a means for exploring the political, social, cultural, and economic changes that have taken place in Italy through history. By the end of the course, you will have acquired a more sophisticated understanding of food history as an interdisciplinary approach to studying Italian culture and society and as a framework for analyzing important aspects of Italian history.

Course Objectives

  • Learn about the Italian history and culture of food through the ages;
  • Work with non-traditional historical texts;
  • To challenge students to examine unfamiliar food cultures with unbiased frameworks, applying an anthropological concept of culture to understand diversity;
  • Integrate theory and practice as it applies to Italian foodways;
  • Develop a more sophisticated understanding of how historical events are shaped by a combination of economic, political, social, and cultural factors.

Course Materials
Course reader in Pdf

Includes a class dinner, food tastings and various activities outside of the classroom.