PROGRAMS

MINOR IN FOOD STUDIES

Description:
This interdisciplinary minor allows students the flexibility to select courses from different programs so as to explore different dimensions of food production and consumption from political, anthropological, sociological and business perspectives. How do we affect the Earth’s resources with our food consumption? How is this question tackled at international level? Who are the main actors of the agri-food system? What is the role of culture in food consumption? What do we know about consumption in the past? and in Italy? How can we write about food? How do businesses manage food marketing or culinary tourism?

Required courses:
FS 301 SUSTAINABLE FOOD: GOVERNANCE, POLICIES, AND PRACTICES
IS 212 ITALIAN FOOD AND CULTURE

Plus two of the following:
ARC 404 ARCHAEOLOGY OF FOOD
BUEC 431 THE ECONOMICS AND POLICIES OF  THE ITALIAN FOOD INDUSTRY
COEN 321 A MOVEABLE FEAST: WRITING ABOUT FOOD
FS 450 FOOD STUDIES INTERNSHIP
SOC 300 SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ITALY

Plus one of the following:
ECPO 313 GLOBALIZATION
ECPO 317 THE DEVELOPING WORLD
FS 493 INDEPENDENT STUDY
IA 202 INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
POL 304 ETHICS AND GLOBAL POLICY

One additional credit is available with these courses:
ARCL 311 ROMAN COOKING: WHAT THE ROMANS ATE AND HOW WE KNOW IT
IS 251 FOOD AND (MULTI)CULTURE IN ITALY (1 Credit Field Study)
 

COURSES

Graduate Courses for the Master in Food Studies Program

FS 501 FOOD, ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY
How do we affect the Earth’s resources with our food choices? This course covers the interrelationship of food and the environment: it reviews the global agri-food system, its structure and evolution with particular reference to global food security. Through an interdisciplinary perspective, it will discuss the existing knowledge on the major global challenges for food production, including climate change, depletion of natural resources and changes in diets. The social, economic, cultural and psychological determinants of food consumption habits and patterns will be analyzed with the view to exploring the linkages between sustainable production and sustainable diets. The governance of the agro-food system will be examined: the mandates of the UN agencies, the main regulatory frameworks, the intergovernmental processes, the transnational and national civil society and social movements. The course includes one or more field trips to a UN Agency.

FS 504 FOOD POLICY
This course reviews the rationale, instruments and practice of food policy. It provides an overview of the conceptual background, features and aims of food policies, and the regulatory frameworks in both industrialized and non-industrialized countries. The first part of the course discusses the different approaches followed and the disciplinary contributions to the policy and practice from agriculture, health, trade and the environment perspectives highlighting the conditions that influence the formulation of food policies. The second part covers the evolution of food policies and regulations at the global, regional and national levels and their implications. Specific mechanisms and policy instruments will be highlighted, including the Codex Alimentarius and the international trade agreements.

FS 503 NUTRITION POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
The course covers nutrition from a public health and environmental policy perspective, as debated and applied at both international and national levels. The main definitions and concepts are provided related to macro and micronutrient requirements, human metabolism and diet-related diseases, such as under-nutrition, malnutrition and over-nutrition. Special emphasis will be given to food safety and food safety policies, including foodborne pathogens and surveillance, antibiotic resistance, food labeling, food additives and allergens, chemical use in food production, genetic modification of food and the new genome editing techniques applied to agriculture. The course analyzes critically current nutrition problems and challenges and reviews the regulatory frameworks and policy options towards healthy, balanced and environmentally sustainable diets.

FS 502 SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS
The aim of the course is to review the conceptual and analytical frameworks for the ‘sustainability’ of the food system and to analyze how sustainability is pursued in practice by different actors. The food system refers to all processes involved in the production, processing, consumption and disposal of food; it implies the involvement of different sectors, disciplines and stakeholders and the intersection with aspects of public health, environment as well as social and economic development. The course will review and analyze the co-existence of multiple contemporary food systems and their sustainability, from the global to the community level, from primary production to agribusiness, including the role of institutional actors and social movements in imagining and practicing alternatives to the current industrial food system.  The course includes transferable skills related to management of projects dealing with sustainability.  One or more field trips to regional and local food systems in Italy will also be included.

FS 511 FOOD, RURALITY AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT
The course reviews the role of food in influencing and shaping local development in rural areas. It examines the scope and characteristics of local food systems as well as the range of other products and services delivered by rural areas for rural and urban communities. The course covers the main tenets, practices and processes of rural development, with specific reference to developed countries, but considering also the global food markets and developing countries’ experiences. Rural development paths based on the multiple functions of farms will be analyzed in relation to local food systems as well as to the new roles that rural areas and actors can play to address emerging social needs and demands.  

FS 517 SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DIMENSIONS OF FOOD AND EATING
This course aims at enabling students to identify the meaning and significance of food in different societies by exploring the way that culture, gender, socioeconomic status and religion influence food choices and preferences. Eating habits and patterns -namely how we eat, what with eat and with whom we eat- are key elements in determining and communicating social identities. In Social and Cultural Dimensions of Food and Eating we will determine how people use food to define themselves as individuals, groups or whole societies. We will discuss food taboos and beliefs, the historical dynamism of food habits, contemporary food trends, indigenous sovereignty rights over natural resources and contemporary critical issues as food access, malnutrition and food vulnerability as a climate change consequence. Identifying and defining the differences between eating and nutrition, the course will provide a holistic perspective on the study of food, tackling its influence on body perceptions and health issues. Furthermore, the course will provide qualitative research methodological tools for applied research and project work on food and eating in both industrialized and developing countries’ social and cultural contexts.

FS 518 THE GLOBAL FOOD ECONOMY
This course introduces students to key economic concepts in macroeconomics as applied to the agro-food sector, finance and accounting. During the first part of the course students learn key economic concepts such as opportunity costs, trade-off, elasticity, production frontiers, public goods and externalities. The relations between GDP, inflation and unemployment will be critically analyzed in the context of the classical and Keynesian models, with a particular focus on the role of government and central banks. International trade policies are examined with reference to food, agribusiness and development issues. Different market structures ranging from monopolistic competition, oligopolies and monopolies will be reviewed to gain a better understanding of how markets work in practice and to identify the key actors in today global food system. In the second part, the course provides a survey of accounting and finance methodologies. Case studies, lecture and in class exercises provide for a practical and active learning approach. The course assumes no prior knowledge of economics and business techniques or terminology.

FS 516 FOOD WRITING ACROSS MEDIA
This course will examine food writing in relation to food production; its economic, environmental and social sustainability; and the social and cultural dimensions of food consumption. It will cover food writing in its various professional forms, across different media and for different audiences: writing non-fiction essays, analytical papers, personal narratives, blogs, policy briefs, press releases and writing for newspapers, magazines and websites. Examples of such writing will be drawn from a wide range of writers and organizations. Students will also take photographs and video to accompany their work. Italy is our classroom and textbook so students should be prepared to visit locales and institutions where food plays a role.

FS 519 GEOGRAPHIC INSFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information, usually in a map. With increased awareness of geospatial technologies and their role in society, food studies and agriculture continue to embrace GIS to adapt to changing circumstances. By better understanding how features within the landscape interact, decision makers can optimize operational efficiency and improve social and economic returns. This course will analyze this system through case-studies from different contexts allowing to gain more experience and knowledge on the potential of GIS as a tool to manage programs that support farmers and the environment as well as decision-making for food processing and distribution. This course will cover a general introduction to GIS using a free and open source QGIS software package. Students will also critically asses the contribution of GIS to the theoretical and methodological development of food studies and agriculture worldwide.       
 

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES
 

ARC 404 ARCHAEOLOGY OF FOOD (also offered at graduate level with enrichment element)
This upper level course explores how food has been used in archaeology to address cultural phenomena. The study of the archaeological record (faunal remains, botanical data, pottery analysis) has traditionally provided an indirect evidence of food consumption, while it is only through the application of biomolecular techniques that we were able to determine directly what people ate in the past. This has changed the way we have used food consumption to define past cultures and has often challenged hitherto beliefs, from the so-called ‘revolutions’ of European prehistory to the feasts of Roman times. This course will compare and contrast different methodologies for studying food consumption in the past. 

ARCL 311 ROMAN COOKING: WHAT THE ROMANS ATE AND HOW WE KNOW IT
This is an introductory one-credit course on the food and food culture of ancient Rome. Students will be introduced to the ancient kitchen, ingredients and condiments, cooking methods, and eating habits through primary sources (Apicius and much more) and archaeological evidence (Pompeii and Ostia). Ancient food is an exquisitely interdisciplinary subject in which philology, epigraphy, art history, geography, agronomy, botany, and palaeobotany are only a few of the areas of expertise that can be called upon to enrich the picture of ancient life. Students will be encouraged to use their own special interests or talents to investigate the panorama of food in ancient Italy. The course will conclude with the practical preparation of Roman food. Students will have to pay a fee for a practical session. 

COEN 321 A MOVEABLE FEAST : WRITING ABOUT FOOD 
Food writing is defined in many ways: cookbooks to non-fiction essays, restaurant reviews to travel and personal narratives. This course will examine food writing in its various professional forms and will instruct students in approaches to writing about food for publications. Students will write a restaurant review, a personal essay, and a food analysis and recipe, as well as short analytical writings that examine the work of professional writers. In part, Rome is our classroom and textbook, so students should be prepared to visit local markets, restaurants, and locales around the city where food plays a role (street vendors, gelaterie, parks, etc). 

ECPO 313 GLOBALIZATION
Globalization is an essential term for understanding the word today. It is also an overused word that means little or nothing if not understood in analytical and historical frameworks. This course will examine the concept of globalization and discuss how it can be meaningfully addressed by considering globalization as multiple and multifaceted processes taking place within the spheres of politics, economy, communication and culture. We will identify the parameters of the globalization debate and the relevant questions to ask within each of these spheres. The cases ‘for’ and ‘against’ globalization will be explored, linked to ethical debates concerning the environment, poverty, inequality, justice and the uneven global distribution of goods, values and resources. 

ECPO 317 THE DEVELOPING WORLD
This course is designed to give students a comprehensive undergraduate overview of the theory of and evidence on development from a policy-oriented perspective. Students will analyze policy issues pertaining to growth and development from a broad and rigorous analytical base. The course provides a natural bridge between the studies of economics and political science: it examines the connections between wealth and power and analyzes how people have tried to create (as well as limit the concentration of ) both, in different times and different places in the effort to ‘generate’ self-sustained development. Students will study a variety of writings from leading authors – not just from economics and political science, but also from history, philosophy and sociology, among others.
 
ENV 103 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary study that includes both applied and theoretical aspects of human impact on the world. In this course, an overview is given of the specific concerns of overpopulation, the energy crisis, and general results of the overstress on the environment, including pollution, poor agricultural practices, and the depletion of natural resources. An inquiry based laboratory component is designed to support students in constructing a meaningful, conceptual foundation of the environmental sciences. Activities and experiments will help students experience earth and environmental sciences as the dynamic system of patterns it embodies. 

FS 301 FOOD AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The course addresses the key environmental and sustainability challenges faced by our contemporary food system, from production to processing, marketing, consumption and disposing of food. It reviews the historical developments of the agro‐food system and the identified challenges, framed through evidence and debates of the scientific communities and of civil society. The psychological, social, ethical and cultural factors influencing food consumption patterns and practices will also be examined. The potential solutions for more sustainable food production and consumption will be reviewed through the study of selected policies and regulatory frameworks at international and national levels. The course may include a field‐trip. 

IS 210 INTRODUCTION TO ITALIAN CULTURE
Thematic in approach, this interdisciplinary course introduces students to the major social, cultural, artistic, and intellectual trends in modern Italy. Focusing on the period of Italy’s history from Unification in 1861 to the present, the courses will focus on cultural topics such as the Commedia dell’arte and its legacy in modern Carnival celebrations in Italy, Italian food and wine culture, sports, cinema, religion, regional differences, gender issues, and the advent of a contemporary multicultural society. Topics will be considered within the context of modern Italian society as well as from a historical perspective.
 
IS 212 ITALIAN FOOD AND CULTURE
This interdisciplinary course will examine the relationship between food and culture in contemporary Italian society through a variety of readings, class discussions and personal and practical experiences. The course will also consider, from historical and cultural studies perspectives, how Italian cuisine has become a staple around the world and particularly in the U.S., comparing the culture and politics of food in Italy to that of the U.S. Students will undertake a group-learning project around Rome that will enhance their classroom experience. 

IS 251 FOOD AND (MULTI)CULTURE IN ITALY
This 1-credit weekend field trip course presents food in its complex connections with culture, nutrition, environment, society, economics and politics. Combining traditional lectures and discussion meetings with hands-on co-curricular activities, the course will lead students to the city of Torino, a leading city in Italy for food studies and the slow food movement. The lectures and meeting with professors from the Università di Studi Enogastronomici provide a dynamic learning environment with an interdisciplinary approach while the practical assignments allow students to explore and experience fìrst-hand food culture in different settings around Torino. All course topics are accompanied by practical activities, ranging from meetings in Eataly, the famous slow food supermarket, to food and wine pairing and tasting workshops (observations and meetings with the experts). The course will also take advantage of Torino’s rich multicultural fabric by visiting the largest international market in Italy, Torino’s Porta Palazzo market, where food traditions from Italy and around the world come together. 

SOC 300 SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ITALY
This upper-level Sociology course uses various methodologies from the discipline to analyze postwar Italian society. It begins with a discussion of key historical factors which have influenced the development of Italy’s contemporary society: Unification, Fascism, World War II and the Cold War. It then takes a thematic approach, examining important aspects of Italian social organization and culture such as the family, the economy, politics, gender relations, youth culture, consumption, and organized crime.