First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
AVP3050145, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
IF0365, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2018/19
bring this page
with you
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ANTHROPOLOGY OF FOOD
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and the Environment
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge FABRIZIO FERRARI M-STO/06

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines M-STO/06 History of Religions 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 1.0 8 17.0 No turn
Lecture 5.0 40 85.0 No turn

Start of activities 25/02/2019
End of activities 14/06/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
10 Commissione a.a. 2018/19: dal 24/02/2019 24/02/2019 30/11/2019 FERRARI FABRIZIO (Presidente)
SCARPI PAOLO (Membro Effettivo)
9 Commissione a.a. 2018/19: fino al 23/02/2019 01/12/2018 23/02/2019 ZAGO MICHELA (Presidente)
SCARPI PAOLO (Membro Effettivo)
8 Commissione a.a. 2017/18 01/12/2017 30/11/2018 ZAGO MICHELA (Presidente)
SCARPI PAOLO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Students are expected to be familiar with:
1. the cultural and historical issues related to food production and dietary regulations
2. techniques for the interpretation of symbolic structures
3. analytical tools for the study of eating behaviours.
Target skills and knowledge: The course is designed to equip students with:
1) the knowledge of the critical tools necessary to analyse alimentary behaviours in relation to their cultural context;
2) the knowledge of a multidisciplinary method which will facilitate the comparative study of the production, preparation and consumption of food. Such methodology is informed by theories and methods inherent to the humanities (history of religions) and social sciences (anthropology) as well as other disciplines, e.g. medical humanities, botany, biology, chemistry and the digital humanities;
3) the ability to focus and reflect upon the relationship between food and identity as it emerges from ethnographic, literary and artistic sources.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1) understand how culture and religion impact on food production, preparation and consumption processes;
2) appreciate the main methodological approaches to the historical and anthropological study of food;
3) apply a range of multidisciplinary interpretive models for the study of food across different cultures and historical periods;
4) understand how religious culture impact on food production, preparation and consumption, with particular reference to such issues as food prohibitions and taboos, scheduled celebrations, purity and pollution, health and wellbeing;
5) develop a critical methodology for the study of the relationship between nutrition and the symbolic proprieties of food.

The student is expected to acquire the following transversal skills:
1) communication of ideas a and data
2) teamwork
3) data acquisition and data analysis
4) respect for different cultures
5) activity planning and administration
6) time management
7) accuracy
8) evaluation of contexts and products.
Examination methods: Oral examination: students will discuss the issues examined during lectures. More specifically, students will be asked to critically reflect on how to study and interpret food production, preparation and consumption in different cultural contexts, with particular reference to the history of religions. Students will have the chance to relate on a topic of choice among those discussed in the course. There are no mid-term forms of assessment.
Assessment criteria: General assessment criteria are:
1) knowledge of the topics discussed during the course;
2) knowledge of subject specific scholarship and relevant primary sources;
3) ability to critically discuss the history of food production, preparation and consumption;
4) ability to apply knowledge with confidence and in a way to demonstrate independence of thought;
5) competence and sophistication in the exposition.
Course unit contents: The course is designed to facilitate discussion on food from a cultural and historical point of view, thus moving from (social and cultural) anthropological theories and methods and ancillary disciplines. The course is divided in various sessions, each exploring a specific topic:
1) Food production in prehistory
2) Food in mythology
3) Human and divine food: sacrificial culture
4) Taxonomies, prohibitions and alimentary choices in relation to cultural and religious models;
5) Food, health and medicine
6) The Other’s food: cooking across culture
7) Taste and distaste: biology, religion and culture.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures with the use of slides (PowerPoint presentations) and/or handouts to facilitate the following activities:
1) research on historical or ethnographic sources;
2) group work on selected textual sources;
3) individual work on material of choice.
Additional notes about suggested reading: 1) Selected bibliography, Powerpoints presentations and handouts (available on the course workspace on Moodle);
2) subject-specific bibliography (also available on Moodle);
3) students attending the course will read all compulsoty texts and the materials presented and discussed in the classroom and will prepare a third book of chioice.
4) Students not attending the course will read all compulsory texts, mateials available on Moodle, a third text (COUNIHAN, C. & P. VAN ESTERIK, a c. di, Food and Culture: A Reader, London, Routledge, 2008 [only the first part: "Foundations"]) and a fourth volume of choice.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • COUNIHAN, C. & P. VAN ESTERIK, a c. di, Food and Culture: A Reader. London: Routledge, 2008. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo
  • DOUGLAS M., Antropologia e simbolismo. Religione, cibo e denaro nella vita sociale. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1985. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo
  • DOUGLAS M., Purezza e pericolo. Un’analisi dei concetti di contaminazione e tabù. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2008. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo
  • GALEN, On the Proprieties of Foodstuffs (De alimentorum facultatibus). Tr. by O. Powell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo
  • GARNSEY P., Food and Society in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo
  • GRAFF S.R., E. RODRÍGUEZ-ALEGRÍA, a c. di, The Menial Art of Cooking: Archaeological Studies of Cooking and Food Preparation. Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado, 2012. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo
  • KHARE R.S., The Eternal Food. Gastronomic Ideas and Experiences of Hindus and Buddhists. Albany: SUNY Press, 1992. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo
  • Montanari, Massimo, Il cibo come cultura. Roma [etc.]: GLF editori Laterza, 2006. Obbligatorio Cerca nel catalogo
  • SCARPI P., Il senso del cibo: mondo antico e riflessi contemporanei. Palermo: Sellerio, 2005. Obbligatorio Cerca nel catalogo
  • Arnott, Margaret L., Gastronomythe anthropology of food and food habitsedited by M. L. Arnott. The Hague: Paris, Mouton, 1975. Facoltativo Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Case study
  • Working in group
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Responsible Consumption and Production