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Italy: Territory, Food & Anthropology

Instructor: Prof. Gregory Smith [see profile]
Disciplines: Anthropology, Italian, Agricultural Sciences.

Italy possesses one of the richest culinary traditions in world, with roots reaching back to ancient times. An abundant literature on Italian food allows us to explore in detail matters of food culture in a dense array of settings. Part of the course is conducted on site, exposing students to Rome’s rich network of food distribution systems, as well as touring areas in proximity of Rome to discover the close linkage between the territory, its inhabitants, and consumable food products. Topics covered include the cultural ecology of pasta, the historical evolution of spices, the special character of Alpine ecosystems, the moral implications of food consumption, modern food distribution, the globalization of taste, and responses to globalization especially through the Slow Food movement. Throughout the course attention is paid to the role of food practice in contemporary Italian society and culture, with special attention to gender. In order to put principles into practice, the structured experience of food and wines is an integral part of the course. 


  •  a food journal
  •  a midterm 
  •  two papers (3-4 and 7-8 pages)
  •  a final exam