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Gustolab: Food Systems & Sustainability
Gustolab: Food Systems & Sustainability
Gustolab: Food Systems & Sustainability
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Since 2005, when the first program on Food and Culture in Italy was launched (with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) the field of study has increased in importance by becoming a field that is fundamentally interdisciplinary, and therefore many food-related study abroad programs are now flourishing as a response to the increasing awareness and demand in society. Gustolab Founder and CEO says “As an Italian, I know the importance of food culture in Italy and have always considered this country to be the perfect laboratory for studies related to food.” Our programs will help you to appreciate food as a cultural product of Italy but also to use food as an instrument of analysis of our economy, society and politics.

“While there are other food and culture programs available, Gustolab sets itself apart by offering a unique credit-based curriculum that invites students to experience Italy from an insider’s perspective. Courses and excursions are thoughtfully planned, including trips to family-run organic farms, fisheries and vineyards that represent both the past and the future of Italy’s food culture. This is indeed a rare opportunity — one that many of us wish we could have had ourselves when we were students!”

Dr. Elena T. Carbone, UMass Amherst, Visiting professor of Gustolab's Summer course “Food, Nutrition and Culture”

GLI 201 Italian Culture and Sustainability Studies
Fall/Spring (3) 

Credit recommendation: 

Open to: All majors

The course will examine Italian culture, past and present, through the perspective of sustainability and food systems. After a general introduction to Italy and its regional traditions the course will examine contemporary issues of sustainability related to urban space, waste, energy, mobility, water and agriculture with lessons devoted to the success of the Mediterranean diet, food production, distribution, and consumption. While there is a focus on food, we will also investigate ways in which architecture and design of the built environment can contribute to, or impede,  the preservation of cultural heritage.

 

GLI 202 NUTRITION iN THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD “Psychology, Science & Politics of  Mediterranean Diet” (also PHE_410)

Fall (3)

Credit recommendation: 200~300 level, social science discipline, history, or nutrition.

Open to: All majors

The course presents an analysis of the Mediterranean diet as found in current-day Italy. It focuses on consumption patterns and their impact on health and well-being. Topics include taste preferences, food aversions, hunger and satiety, food as comfort and friendship, eating as a social ritual, and the social norms of blame for food problems. The politics of food is examined focusing on sustainable agriculture, organic farming, genetically modified foods, nutrition policy, and the influence of food and agriculture industries. Malnutrition, eating disorders, and obesity, as well as the impact of food advertising, and the ways in which personal food choice is shaped by our modern environment are examined. 

 

GLI_203 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (also UIUC ECON 200-300 and ACE 200-300)

Fall (3)

Credit recommendation: 

Open to: All majors

This course examines Italy’s traditional and innovative approach to agriculture and food systems from a nutritional, economic and distribution perspective.  

 

GLI 299 FOOD PRODUCTION: OLIVE OIL, WINE (ALSO PSU GEOG_299)

Fall (3)

Credit recommendation: social science discipline, agricultural science, business

Open to: All majors

Food Production: Olive Oil and Wine focuses on two of Italy’s signature products – as they are being produced in sites across Italy. Emphasis is placed on the local production of these crops and the processes transforming them into market commodities. Discussions and readings are situated within historical, cultural and economic contexts. Students participate in two forms of fieldwork. They assist in harvesting and related activities at nearby farms. They also accompany their instructor on an educational tour, from Northern to Southern Italy, of farms and markets exploring local production processes.

 

GLI 301 UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: the Italian context

Fall (3)

Credit recommendation: social science discipline

Open to: All majors

Sustainable Food Systems in Italy takes an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to understanding sustainable agriculture and food in Italy. Combining in-class teaching, fieldwork and study tours Food Systems helps students acquire the knowledge and skills for developing sustainable farming systems. Field trips focus on sustainability initiatives in Lazio region, among others. Readings and lectures link the ecology of the Italian peninsula with the profound role food plays in Italian communities, families, and national identity.

 

GLI 302 SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MARKETING IN ITALY 

Fall (3)

Credit recommendation:

Open to: All majors

Sustainable Food Business and Marketing provides a foundation, within the Italian context, of core concepts in food business, including management, finance, economics, sales, marketing, human resource management, and supply chain management. Emphasis is placed on the Italian — and the European — food markets. This course will be of particular interest to students exploring a career in food marketing, import/export markets, and food hospitality and tourism.

 

GLI 303 FOOD AND DIGITAL MEDIA (also UIUC FSHN 100 and TMD 101)

Spring (3)

Credit recommendation:

Open to: All majors

The course will focus on the intersection between food and media, a connection that has elicited much interest in communication studies over the past few years. Food has become a hot topic on TV, the Internet and the printed media. The goal of this course is to enhance the students’ competence both on the subject matter and in the practical skills necessary to produce good communication about food and wine. This is a multi-faceted course that will give students a solid foundation in understanding Italy’s unique media environment as well as the opportunity to utilize Rome (and Italy) as a living laboratory for producing a final video product. Students will complete an original video research project about food paradoxes.

 

GLI 401 CRITICAL STUDIES ON FOOD: FROM PRODUCTION TO WASTE (also PSU PHE_410)

Summer (3)

Credit recommendation: 200-300 level food studies, anthropology or related disciplines.

Open to: All majors

This course combines traditional lectures and discussion meetings with hands-on co-curricular activities and field trips in and around Rome, as well as in the Lazio region and Cilento’s seaside. Food is presented in all its complex connections with culture, nutrition, environment, society, economics and politics. All course topics are accompanied by practical activities, ranging from classes in professional kitchens to food and wine pairing and tasting workshops. Lectures are delivered by prestigious experts for each topic, providing a dynamic and interdisciplinary learning environment. Practical assignments allow students to explore and experience first-hand food culture in the streets of Rome.

 

GLI 402 CRITICAL STUDIES ON FOOD: FOOD WASTE IN ITALY (also PSU PHE_410)

Summer (3)

Credit recommendation: 200-300 level food studies, anthropology or related disciplines.

Open to: All majors

In Italy, food is celebrated, and many Italians cite the pleasure of eating and sharing meals as core cultural values. However, even with its long history of attention to regional and national cuisine, and veneration to taste and authenticity of food, less attention has been paid to the fact that a great deal (around 14.5 billion USD) of food goes unused. The Italian government is hoping to change this phenomenon. A recent (2016) Italian law requires that markets donate “usable” food to reduce waste and feed hungry people. In this course, students will study these issues by analyzing current research, conducting fieldwork, and looking at current implementation of the law. Students will work (through interviews, observation, and partnerships with community recovery agencies) to analyze where, when, why and how the line is drawn between food and food waste in Rome and the impacts and consequences of these categories.

 

GLI 403 FOOD MEDIA, COMMUNICATION AND TRENDS

Summer (3)

Credit recommendation: 200-300 level food studies, media studies, advertising or related disciplines.

Open to: All majors

This course focuses on the intersection between food and media. In recent years food has become a hot topic on TV, the internet, and printed media. The goal of this course is to enhance the students’ competence both on food and media and in the practical skills necessary to produce effective communication about food, wine and related topics. Students learn through hands-on practice with different kinds of media, including digital video. This multi-faceted course gives students a solid foundation in understanding Italy’s unique media environment as well as the opportunity to utilize Rome (and Italy) as a living laboratory for producing a final portfolio of journalistic writings. Students also complete an original video research project (a documentary production) based on student interests. Guest lecturers include local and international journalists, writers and bloggers.

GLI 404 FOOD, NUTRITION AND CULTURE IN ITALY

Summer (3)

Credit recommendation: 3 credits, 200-300 level food studies, nutrition studies, anthropology or related disciplines.

Open to: All majors

This course focuses on how culture and ethnicity affect dietary practices, with particular emphasis on Italy as compared to the U.S. The influence of politics on food availability and food practices is explored. Emphasis is on cross-cultural communication processes to address nutrition and cultural issues. Classes will include lectures presenting new material, but will also heavily focus on in-class discussions pulling together field experiences lectures and site visits.

JAPAN

 

GLI_105 JAPANESE CULINARY PRACTICES AND THE SENSIBLE WORLD

Summer (3)

Credit recommendation:

Open to: All majors

Japan is known worldwide for its food and culture, but its historical trajectory including the era of militaristic imperialism and post-WWII occupation, and strong nationalism shape and produce various food issues and politics in Japan. This class explores and experiences both a foundational philosophy and an unsettled boundary of washoku as ‘national’ cuisine by examining culinary objects, technique, and symbolic meanings in Japan. Washoku, literally means Japanese food (“wa” = Japanese, “shoku” = food). While Washoku is now one of the foods registered by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritages, the term ‘Washoku’ has deeper and broader cultural meanings, and its boundary has never been fixed. The class aims to understand the change and diversity of Japanese food cultures in time and space. This course revolves around multi-sensory practical activities, spending significant time in a food studies kitchen for preparing and tasting Japanese cuisine. Students are required to attend both lecture and culinary training. Students will have the opportunity to learn both home-style cooking and restaurant-style Japanese haute cuisine.

 

GLI_106 Osaka the Story of Food: A Field Study

Summer (3)

Credit recommendation: 3 credits, 200-300 level food studies, nutrition studies, anthropology or related disciplines.

This course has three goals. It will introduce participants to: (1) Approaching Osaka, its citizens, institutions, and surrounding areas as a text for learning about the story of food. To do this we will borrow experiential fieldwork methods from anthropology and other disciplines – methods designed to facilitate your entry and understanding of a second culture (keeping a journal, working with key informants, pursuing fieldwork questions, and reflecting on experience….). (2) Our study will be framed by the critical concepts of food systems and sustainability. These dynamic ideas link many forms of social action with academic reflection in today’s world. They shape pressing issues ranging from health and nutrition to rising sea levels and the reshaping of human geography. We will look at how Osaka – and Japan — is responding to these challenges. (3) And finally, we will explore the story of food in Osaka, one of the world’s great urban areas. This story will include the foodways of current Osaka as well as the role of food in Osaka and Japan’s development. Topics include: local and national markets, the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG), Osaka’s gateway role vis a vis Asia, and the changing rural community, among others. All participants will stay with host families and we will have field visits to markets, a soy sauce factory, a knife manufacturing facility, as well as a rural village and farming community

 

GUSTOLAB also offers short thematic continuing education courses (see PROGRAMS)

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