Culinary Crossings: Exploring Mediterranean Food Systems through Photography

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 between Nicosia (Cyprus) and Syracuse (Italy).

In this course, we explore 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. The overall aim is 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.

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

The course will have a seminar format, with lectures framing issues at the beginning of each session, followed by discussion of readings and student presentations. You will be assigned preparatory readings prior to the start of the seminar, and a final portfolio of images will be due at the end of the seminar.


The seminar will be led by Professor Olivier de Maret, a social and cultural historian specialized 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: Nicosia (Cyprus) and Syracuse (Italy).

Eligibility and Admissions

Culinary Crossings is open to students admitted into the Syracuse Center semester programs in Florence and London. 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 12 additional credits for a minimum of 15 credits for the semester. 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

Syracuse Abroad offers a group flight for students admitted to the Culinary Crossings seminar. Group flight information will be sent to all admitted students in the Culinary Crossings acceptance email. Students who choose to fly independently are responsible for making their own travel arrangements but must follow the dates of the program. 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 program fee for the Spring 2020 semester is $2,320. Please check with your financial aid office to determine if financial aid can be used towards the seminar fee. The program fee charge covers air and ground transportation during the program, entrance fee to all seminar sites, hotel accommodations & some meals.