University teaching programs

Culture and Politics of Food in Italy

Take a look at the pictures from the practical workshops, the class lectures can not, of course, be photographed. 

Theme One: The Globalization of the Food Chain

IMG 7909The industrialization of food and the globalization of the food economy in the last fifty years have produced a food system that is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, is a major contributor to the production of greenhouse gasses, and has contributed to the growth of global hunger, malnutrition, and loss of food democracy for most of the world's population. We will be exploring the global debates on whether the answer to all of these problems is a matter of increasing yields through investing in more technology or is a matter that might be best addressed through social and political solutions and grassroots mobilizations for food democracy.

Norberg-Hodge, Helena et al. 2002, Bringing the Food Economy Back Home: Local Alternatives to Global Agribusiness (entire).
Jarosz, Lucy, 2009 "The Political Economy of Global Governance and the World Food Crisis: The Case of the FAO." Review 32(1):37-60.
Bello, Walden, 2007 "Manufacturing a Global Food Crisis." Global Asia 2(3): 15-25.
Steel, Carolyn, 2008, Hungry City, how food shapes our lives

Food Inc.; Fresh; Genetic Roulette; A Farm for the Future

Soil, oil and agriculture (Dafne)
The urban-rural relationship and food sovereignty (Dafne)
Bring the food economy home (Ann)
Reflections on world food day (Common)
Understanding the FAO (Ann)

Program Activities:
World Food Day Celebrations at the FAO
The McGovern Lecture at the FAO
Run for Food

Ungraded short assignments
Short paper on World Food Day activities

Theme Two: Food Culture and Gastronomy

img 1217How has the human relationship to food evolved in the transition to settled agricultural life and more recently to modern urbanism and an industrialized food system? We will be looking at the changes in the composition of the human diet but also in the technologies of food production and processing that have accompanied these shifts. We will be looking at the history and culinary geography of Italian cuisine in particular while developing an understanding of the field of "gastronomy" as a holistic understanding of food and eating.

Steel, Carolyn, 2009, Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives. (chapters 1-3)
Counihan, Carole, 2004, Around the Tuscan Table. (chapters 1-5 required)
Dickie, John, 2008 Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food. (chapters 1, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20 required)
Meneley, Anne, 2004, "Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Slow Food." Anthropologica 46, 2 (2004): 165-176.
Black, Rachel E., 2005, "The Porta Palazzo Farmers' Market: Local Food, Regulations, and Changing Traditions." Anthropology of Food 4: 1-14.
Mueller, Tom, 2007, "Slippery Business: the Trade in Adulterated Olive Oil." New Yorker, August 13.
Donadio, Rachel, 2013, "Vibrant Market is Heart of Multiethnic Capital." New York Times, August 11.

What is an artisanal food, history of pasta in Italy (Common)
Slow food movement (Ann)
Seasonal improvisation (Dafne)
Around the tuscan table (Ann)
Bread and pizza making (Dafne)

Program Activities:
Visit to Spannocchia Farm (wine making, organic gardening, cinta senses tour: from the piglets to the prosciutto, applications of ancient technologies to address contemporary problems)
Tour of Campo de' Fiori Market and cooking class with Bill Guion
Breadmaking and pizza making
Italian Pastas and related sauces
Cooking Lessons
Cheesemaking with Enrico and Anna

Ungraded short assignments
Artisanal food project (Paper and presentation)

Theme three: New Food Economies

img 9768-2What does it mean in the post-industrial context to "bring the food economy back home?" How are local food movements mobilizing around the concept of local food? What is the potential for these movements to contribute to systemic change and for restoring food democracy?

Litfin, Karen, "Gleanings from the Harvest: Learning from Ecovillage Experiments around the World."
Leitch, Allison, 2003, "Slow Food and the Politics of Pork Fat: Italian Food and European Identity." Ethnos 68, 4 (2003): 437-462.
Tiemann, Thomas K., 2008, "Grower-Only Farmers' Markets: Public Spaces and Third Places." Journal of Popular Culture 41,3: 467-487.

Spiritual relationship to food in local cultures (Dafne)
The culture of olive oil (Ann)
Fermentation in the Kitchen (Dafne)
Farm to table collaboration (Rome Sustainable Food Programme)
Role of the Marketplace in the city (Dafne)

Visit to Zolle
Visit to Casa del Cibo
Tour of New Farmers' Markets
Tour of Community Gardens
Presentation by Adriano Zaccagnini on the Campaign for Small Farms (Campagna per un'agricoltura contadina)
Presentation by Luca Colombo on seed saving, biodiversity and GMO politics
Visit to Panta Rei Eco-Village:
- Group everyday cooking activities: improvisation on season's products
- olive harvesting, olive milling at the artisanal mill, tasting of the freshly milled oil on bruschetta
- visit to the permaculture vegetable garden, water filtration and sustainable heating system,
- wild forageing lesson and exploration of spices: food as medicine
- straw and clay ecological architecture: practical lab
- basket making lab

Panta Rei Daily Journal
Short paper on food democracy