Culinary Crossings: Exploring Mediterranean Food Systems through Photography

culinary crossings
Citrus farm, Spring 2023

Program Description

This seminar will not be offered in spring 2024.

Culinary Crossings offers a first-hand exploration of the social and cultural exchanges that have been shaping the Mediterranean (and societies beyond) for centuries. It analyzes these issues from a food-systems perspective that investigates how meaning is conveyed through food. Photography provides a unique methodological approach in order to analyze how food practices express local and regional identities. The course takes place in Southern Italy.

This course explores key features of Mediterranean food systems–that is the people, resources, and activities involved in food production, distribution, and consumption in and around the Mediterranean Sea. Through selected readings, in-class discussions, and fieldwork (both photographic and ethnographic) we develop a better understanding of other food cultures (and therefore of our own) and of the relation between food cultures and cultural and personal identity. We start with historical, theoretical, and technical approaches to understanding the Mediterranean, food, photography, and identity, then put this knowledge into practice by selecting, photographing, and interpreting the food practices of local and regional systems. This seminar is designed to provide students with the comparative and analytical tools necessary to conceptualize meaning and identity in the Mediterranean context, and to translate this to an American context, both historically and contemporaneously.

Program Dates

Culinary Crossings is offered as a post-semester seminar in the spring. It begins after the Florence semester program ends and returns to Florence upon completion.

Course Information

FST 300.1 Culinary Crossings: Exploring Mediterranean Food Systems through Photography (3 credits)


The seminar will be led by Professor Olivier de Maret, a social and cultural historian specializing in food studies and Stefania Talini, a professional photographer and professor of photography.

Program Itinerary

Seminar locations are subject to change, but common destinations for this seminar include regions within Sicily.

  • 7 nights in Siracusa
  • 3 nights in Taormina
  • 1 night in Florence

Eligibility and Admissions

Culinary Crossings is open to students admitted into the Syracuse Center semester programs in Florence. Interested students must complete the Signature Seminar questionnaire in OrangeAbroad. A $300 deposit will be required to hold your place in the seminar. This is due upon receipt of your Culinary Crossings acceptance email. Details on submitting the deposit will be included in your acceptance email.

Space is limited, and it is to your advantage to apply early. In the event that there is insufficient interest in the seminar, Syracuse Abroad may choose to cancel the program.

Please note that you are required to register for at least 13 additional credits for a minimum of 16 credits for the semester, should you be accepted into this seminar. You should further understand that, if you register for more than 19 total credits, you will be charged additional tuition fees for each credit over 19, and you may not register for more than 22 total credits without prior academic approval.

Travel Arrangements

The seminar begins after the Florence semester program ends. Please check with Syracuse Abroad for more information about flights for this seminar. You will be responsible for return airfare to your home country after the program ends. Leaving before the seminar end date is not an option.


A Culinary Crossings seminar fee will be posted to your Syracuse Bursar account in addition to the semester program fee.

The seminar program fee of $2,550 covers ground transportation during the program, entrance fee to all seminar sites, hotel accommodations & some meals. Check with your financial aid office to determine if financial aid can be used towards the seminar fee. View all Cost & Aid details. The final date to withdraw from the seminar is December 1, after which students will be charged unrecoverable expenses.


Contact your International Program Advisor at