HIST 360 – The History & Culture of Italian Food: A Comparative Analysis

  • Discipline(s): Food Studies, Sustainability

  • Credits: 3

  • Available: fall semester 2024, spring semester 2025, summer session one 2024, summer session two 2024

  • Instructor: Peter Fischer, Ph.D.

Formerly HUM 306 – The History & Culture of Italian Food: A Comparative Analysis

This course examines the relationship between food, culture and identity in Italy through a variety of readings, discussions, outdoor activities and tasting experiences. It will trace the historical evolution of Italian food culture in a world history perspective focusing on the many global influences which over the centuries have shaped the use of different food products, preparation methods, consumption patterns, i.e. the Italian approach towards food, as well as on the many ways in which Italy itself has become a dynamic factor in the process of culinary globalization. Lectures, class discussions, and an online discussion forum, will be supplemented by special food workshops in which the history, culture and taste of selected Italian food products such as bread, wine, and olive oil will be explored. There will be visits to the traditional food markets in Florence as well as a field trip to the Tuscan countryside.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this course students will be able to:
– Understand the relevance of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of food.
– Describe the culturally specific meanings of food and its significance for socio-political interactions.
– Develop an understanding of food as a most fundamental cultural aspect of Italian society.
– Assess the significance of key turning points in world history and their relationship to food.
– Apply the importance of Italian food culture to their own food experience, both personally and within their own community.
– Evaluate the importance of diversity for intercultural relations and communications.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

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