The course starts from the assumption that food offers unique potentialities for analyzing, understanding and critically evaluating the successive waves of globalization that heavily contributed the world we are living in. Food, in fact, is per se a “global item” uniting all human beings around the same vital act. At the dawn of humanity food and eating were undifferentiated, eventual diversity resulting as the simple consequence of local environmental condition. Only with the emergence of cultural specificities, and, more generally, of the “art of cooking”, food diversity appeared, and rapidly became, a cultural mark of societies, social classes, religious and geographic identities. Culture arose as one of the main trait in food production, transformation, consumption. Meanwhile, along with food differentiation on cultural schemes, the world experienced food circulation. Wars, migration, and, of course, traders exported and imported culinary traditions, products and “food cultures”, often moved by the curiosity “of the other”, sometimes by necessity. Food globalization emerged as a main question in human history and in the building of modern “food traditions” themselves. From the XIX century science and techniques heavily transformed food production and consumption, enhancing quantity and, sometimes, quality, pushing towards its further globalization, but also contributing in the emergence of “counter-movements” in search for local tastes and quality, for respect of environment, earth and animals, for healthy products. Tackling these, and other questions, the course explores the relation between food and globalization in a diachronic and comparative framework, juxtaposing economic, social, cultural approaches, and with a view to the effect of various “food paradigms” on human welfare, environmental preservation, and sustainable development.
The course is structured on a first course presentation, on lectures, in class discussion of case studies based on material indicated during the course and aimed to promote comparative approaches between diverse cultural contexts, as well as a global vision of common problems and questions. Students will interact with the teacher and among them posting comments, answering to questions and polls through “wooclap” platform, and presenting in the classroom a final paper freely chosen among the topics related to the program.
The course is based both on diachronic analysis (A) and case studies on specific issues and problems (B).
A1. Globalization: Premises, processes, and consequences with a focus on the food production and consumption chain
B1. Global Food and Global Tourism: Julia Vysotskaya in Venice
B2. Global Food and Ideology: Coca Cola and Scola’ “An American in Rome”
B3. Global Food and Global Trends: New MacDonald Movement, Vegan Food, “Street Food”
A2. Eating as Ritual: from the discovery of fire to “take away” dishes
B1. Food and Class: the meal in Bunuel’s “Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie”
B2. Food and Sex: Cosmopolitan Magazine and Fellini’s Satyricon
B3. Fresh Food, Prepared Food: Corn Flakes, Heinz Ketchup, and Picard stores
A3. Breeding and Farming Revolutions: from the origins to nowadays
B1. Representing food: artistic paintings and everyday photos
B2. The idealised and contradictory hunters’ societies: Penn’s Little Big Man
B3. Early meat industries: The slaughterhouse of Venice, La Villette and Chicago
B4. Intensive Breeding, Ethics and Environment: Wagenhofer’s “We feed the World”
A4. Food Globalizations: Silk Roads and Empires
B1. Roman Imperial Kitchen B2. Spices and Venice
B3. Topkapi kitchen and Ottoman Imperial Food
A5. Food Globalization: the Columbian Exchange
B1. Slave Heritage: Edmonds’ “Soul Food”
B2. Tomato, sauces and Francesco Cirio’s fortune
B3. Struggling for potato: the Achis Parmentier
B4. Cacao, Nutella and Moretti’s “Bianca”
A6. International Food from the Italian Renaissance to the “Nouvelle Cuisine”
B1. Expat Food: Italian and Chinese Immigrants in the Americas
B2. French Cuisine with Love: Axel’s “Babette’s Feast”
B3. Auguste Escoffier Long Lasting Heritage and the Guide Michelin
B4. Nouvelle Cuisine: Gauld & Millaud, Bocuse and the Osteria Francescana
A7. Ongoing Globalization: New Trends, Old Permanence
B1. Nile Perch Success Story: Sauper’s Darwin’s Nightmare
B2. Slow Food and Zero Kilometer Markets
B2. Prosecco’s (global) Market
B3. Agriculture and/in the City: synergies and trends
Learning Outcomes of the course
Students will acquire the knowledge necessary to understand and critically analyze the successive “ways” of globalization in their economic, social, and cultural aspects by placing them within a diachronic and comparative framework and relating them with their medium and long-term social effects.
At the end of the course students will be able to:
1) Fully understand, critically analyze and clearly present the concepts and the literature discussed in the classroom;
2) Critically and comparative analyse globalization waves, juxtaposition different disciplinary approaches (economics, history, arts, architecture and urban planning) and connecting them with core social issues as human rights, democracy, poverty, access to basic services,…;
3) Question globalisations’ results, relating them to specific times and spaces, cultures and traditions;
4) Prepare, and effectively present in the classroom a topic related to the globalization issues freely chosen by the student.
Evaluation Methods (percentage of overall grade assigned to each evaluation)
Evaluation is based on the following parameters:
1. Final oral exam (60 %)
2. Personal dissertation and its presentation in the classroom (20%)
3. Group work (10%)
The final exam is based on the following material:
a. Slides presented and discussed during the lectures and uploaded on the Moodle platform;
b. One of the following articles freely chosen by the student itself:
- Armanios, Febe, Ergene, Bogas A., Halal Food: a History, New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018
- Chevallier, James B., A history of the food of Paris : from roast mammoth to steak frites, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018.
- Gary, Allen, Sauces reconsidered : après Escoffier, Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield, 2019
- Helstosky, Carol (ed.), The Routledge History of Food, London, Routledge, 2014.
- Higman, B.W., How Food made History, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012
- Kaplan, Stephen L., Counihan, Carole M., Food and Gender: Identity and Power, London, New York, Routledge, 2004.
- Leong-Salobir, Cecilia, Urban Food Culture : Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore in the Twentieth Century, New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
- Lindenfeld, Laura, Parasecoli, Fabio, Feasting our eyes : food films and cultural identity in the United States, New York : Columbia University Press, 2017.
- Parasecoli, Fabio, Scholliers, Peter, A cultural History of Food, London-New-York, Berg, 2012-2016
- Pilcher, Jeffrey M., Food in World History, New York: NY: Routledge, 2006
- Pilcher, Jeffrey M., The Oxford Handbook and Food History, New-York, Oxford University Press, 2017;
- Phillips, Lynne, Food and Globalization, “Annual Review of Anthropology”, 35 (2006), pp. 37-57
Last updated: 17 January, 2023