ABOUT THE CENTER
The Center for Food & Sustainability Studies invites students and professors to participate in the study of food systems and sustainability. Whether completing the Certificate in Food & Sustainability Studies, enrolling in semester or summer FSST courses, working on independent research, participating in the biannual Food Conference, or leading a group of students to discover the complexities of Italian food culture, the Center engages with scholars, professors, and students at any level of their career seeking to develop a deeper understanding of global food systems and sustainability efforts.
THE FOOD & SUSTAINABILITY STUDIES PROGRAM (FSSP)
The FSSP is a semester-long, interdisciplinary certificate program open to all students with an interest in food and sustainability. It is particularly well-suited to those hoping to cultivate a career in the food or environmental industries or seeking to continue their education at the graduate level.
Each thematic course includes a series of co- and extra-curricular activities that are an integral part of the curriculum; they include guest lectures, site visits, field trips, culinary activities, research projects, and other hands-on experiences. These activities allow students to directly observe the concepts studied in the classroom and analyze issues surrounding food and sustainability in an Italian and global context from varied perspectives.
Students enrolled in the semester FSSP must enroll in the two core courses, and choose at least one additional FSST elective. In addition, the program includes a mandatory Italian language course (4-6 credits) and an optional free elective chosen from among the Umbra course offerings for a total of 14-18 credits. Particularly motivated students with a 3.5 GPA or above can apply to the Umbra Institute Scholars Program.
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION
All students who successfully complete the Semester Food & Sustainability Studies Program will receive a certificate of completion from the Umbra Institute.
Two Core Courses
- FSST/HIST/SOC 350: History and Culture of Food in Italy (4 credits)
- ENV/FSST/SOC 330: Sustainability and Food Production in Italy (3 credits)
FSSP Electives – Choose one or more from the following:
- FSST/GS 250: Food Chemistry: The Science of Italian Cuisine (3 credits)
- ANTH/FSST/SOC 375: The Anthropology of Food (3 credits)
- COMM/BUS/FSST 355: Wine & Olive Oil: Marketing and Communication Strategies (3 credits)
- ENV/FSST/SOC 320: Water Resources: Environment, Society and Power (3 credits)
- ENG/FSST 325: From Literature to Social Media: Reading and Writing Italian Food (3 credits)
Mandatory Italian Language
ITAL 101-310 – Italian language (4-6 credits)
Chosen from the Umbra course offerings (3-4 credits)
Applicable only to the semester FSSP certificate program. To see what is included in courses taken independently (semester or summer) please reference the individual course descriptions.
Core course activities:
– Weekend field trip to Modena and Parma to see balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, and prosciutto production facilities;
– Visit to FICO Eataly World Bologna with tour and tasting lunch;
– Seven food workshops with local experts: artisan olive oil, Italian-style coffee, regional cheeses, microbrewery beer, pizza, wine, & Italian aperitivo;
– Two Italian cooking classes in Umbra’s Didactic Kitchen;
– Visit to farm-to-table and Fair Trade local restaurant;
– Gardening experience in a synergistic garden;
– Tour of central food market in Florence (Mercato Centrale) with historical cuisine workshop;
– Day trips to Dario Cecchini the Tuscan butcher (Panzano in Chianti);
– Truffle hunting in the Apennine Mountains;
– Welcome and farewell dinners.
All activities for one FSSP elective:
– Visit to Lake Trasimeno fishing villages and industry co-ops with lunch; Project with POST Science Center (ENV/FSST/SOC 320);
– Visits to Umbrian producers and tastings of local products; Book project with Scuola Media in Ripa (FSST/ENG 325);
– Visit and tour of a winery and olive oil producer, and tastings (BUS/COMM/FSST 355);
– Research project involving visits to local restaurants and botteghe (ANTH/FSST/SOC 375).
Fees do not include: Transatlantic airfare, personal expenses, meals, or travel fees for elective courses beyond the program requirements.
Ph.D. in Anthropology and Ethnology from…
Elisa Ascione, Ph.D.[email protected]
Advisory Board Chair
Ph.D. American Studies from Harvard University,…
Zachary Nowak, ABD[email protected]
Ph.D. in History from Free University Brussels…
Olivier de Maret[email protected]
Ph.D. in Tourism from Auckland University…
Brooke Porter[email protected]
M.A. in Marketing of Food &…
Filippo Benedetti Valentini[email protected]
Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from…
Elgin K. Eckert[email protected]
Community Engagement and Food & Sustainability…
Manuel Barbato[email protected]
Since 2012, the Umbra Institute has hosted a biennial food conference in Perugia. Past keynotes have included Ken Albala, Massimo Montanari, Rachel Black, Kolleen Guy, Amy Trubek, Simone Cinotto, Molly Anderson, and Alice Julier. Some of the contributions to the first conference have been published as Representing Italy Through Food (Bloomsbury, 2017), edited by Peter Naccarato, Zachary Nowak, and Elgin K. Eckert.
The fourth edition of the conference will be held June 7th-10th, 2018, with Lisa Heldke (Gustavus Adolphus College), Michael Herzfeld (Harvard University), and John Lang (Occidental College) as the keynote speakers. To find the call for papers, click the link below.
This unique program takes qualified students’ academic experience one step further. Not only do they participate fully in the Food & Sustainability Studies Program, which includes a rich complement of co-curricular activities, workshops and field trips, but students will also pursue an original independent research project. As always, the Scholars Program Coordinator will provide assistance and guidance in defining the research project, assigning a faculty mentor, and selecting the complimentary courses that best fit the students needs as you make the most of their study abroad experience.LEARN MORE
The Umbra staff of the Center for Food & Sustainability Studies are advised by a eight-member board of academics whose research is in the field of food studies. These board members assist in curriculum development and strategic planning. The members are:
Zachary Nowak, PhD—Harvard University (chair)
Alice Julier, PhD—Chatham University
Peter Naccarato, PhD—Marymount Manhattan College
Joyce Chaplin, PhD—Harvard University
Chris Fink, PhD—Ohio Wesleyan University
Michael Di Giovine, PhD—West Chester University
Francesco Burzacca, PhD—The Umbra Institute
Elgin Eckert, PhD—The Umbra Institute
Elisa Ascione, PhD—The Umbra Institute
While teaching is central to the Center’s mission, research serves both didactic and professional goals.
Recent faculty research has included a monograph on the food businesses of Italian emigrants in Belgium, an edited collection on representations of Italian food, a critical analysis of the meaning of heritage in food, and a handbook for Italian winemakers looking to export to the United States. Current projects include a monograph on Italian sagre, an article exploring the absence of the enologist’s laboratory in the discourse about food landscapes, and anthropological research on fisherfolk’s perceptions of fish in Lago Trasimeno. This research not only keeps the CFSS faculty actively involved with academic discussions on food, but also provides readings for courses and opportunities for students to engage in faculty projects.
The Center also promotes student research through faculty-led independent study projects or the more intensive semester-long Scholars Program. A recent student project on the Italian aversion to taking food home from restaurants led to a three year-long community engagement project with the City of Perugia known as RepEAT, designed to promote doggie bags in the city’s restaurants. Students have also presented their research several times at both the biennial CFSS food conference and the Association for the Study of Food & Society.
Ongoing Research Project
The Center is currently creating a long-term institutional research project in collaboration with the City of Perugia and the Region of Umbria. This five-year project will also develop an online wiki of Umbrian foods and foodways. Umbra students will contribute text, photographs, interviews, and video to the first bilingual archive of its type.
OUR DIDACTIC KITCHEN
The Center’s didactic kitchen, located in the Institute, is the ideal venue to explore food chemistry as well as to provide students with hands-on, non-credit-bearing activities that compliment their classroom studies. Click here to learn more about what can be discovered through Umbra’s co- and extra-curricular cooking and tasting activities.
Ask former students
Over 100 students have completed the FSSP since it was first offered in 2011. Feel free to contact some of these students about their experiences while living in Perugia and studying food and sustainability at the Umbra Institute.
The Umbra Institute is a recognized and approved study abroad program for hundreds of colleges and universities. If you’re ready to begin your journey through food studies, start this easy online application.
Thinking about a food-related career or graduate study after you finish college? The Center has developed a number of strategic partnerships with universities and food-related organizations in the US and Italy. Click the button below to learn more.ALUMNI OPPORTUNITIES