ANT300.3 Food, Culture and Identity (Fall, Spring)

This course examines the active role played by food in shaping identity (and difference) by analyzing how identification processes unfold and how identities are articulated throughout the food system. It first addresses essential debates about food and identity in the social scientific literature and helps students devise a working understanding of the basic concepts, actors and geographical scales. It then investigates identities, specifically Italianness, constructed through food from a comparative perspective that explores key periods in the history of Italy from Ancient Rome to the present. Textual, visual and material sources are critically analyzed in class, giving students the opportunity to directly test hypotheses and assess the multiple factors that shape identities. The topics addressed in this manner involve political events and ideas, social distinctions and economic inequalities, migration and cultural exchanges, religion and rituals, science and technology, health and diet, and gender and the body. In-class discussions, interactive lectures, historical cooking workshops, site visits and a field trip enable students to grasp how these topics interact and how the study of food can shed new light on our understanding of culture and society, in Italy and beyond.

Registration restriction: Students may not register for both this course and NSD 452 – Mediterranean Food and Culture.

This course has an associated course fee. See the Course Fees webpage for more information.

Department: Anthropology

Location: Florence

Semesters: Fall, Spring

Credits: 3