cod. 1007685

Academic year 2018/19
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Storia economica (SECS-P/12)
Type of training activity
42 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course students are expected of being able to:
know the definitions of “food system” and comprehend the economic, social and cultural processes that contributed to modify it in the long run;
- apply such learning to critically tackle issues deriving from the complex structure of the food consumption phenomenon, including the angle of the new dietary patterns;
- convey in written form topics concerning the evolution in food production, manufacturing, retailing, and consumption, using the appropriate terminology, and the correct time coordinates.


A basic knowledge of history.

Course unit content

Food is culture, but a lot more as well. This course aims at providing an interpretation broader than the cultural approach to food history that currently is so successful among the public, to include basic features related to economics, demography, technology and science, as well as society and politics. The idea of “food system” will be at the core of the historical narrative, a concept able to include the multiple realms of food production, manufacturing, retailing, and consumption. The course will focus on the historical period beginning with industrialization, following a geographical pattern in which the global and Italian dimensions will alternate. Food history will be considered from multiple views: from innovation in technology (transports, preserving, chemistry) and organization (wholesale commerce, large scale retail, catering business) to changes determined by industrialization (mass production, migrations, diets, consumption habits, food and gender), up to policies regarding food provisioning (urbanization, war rationing, free trade/protectionism, international cooperation) and food protection (denomination of origin, food safety and food security).

Full programme

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Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari (eds), Storia dell’alimentazione, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2011: introduction to part V, chapters 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, and conclusions.
Fabio Parasecoli, Al dente. Storia del cibo in Italia, Libreria Editrice Goriziana, Gorizia, 2015.
Emanuela Scarpellini, La spesa è uguale per tutti, Venezia, Marsilio, 2007.
Readings can be found in the Department’s library, or bought in bookstores or online.

Teaching methods

The teaching will be carried out preferably through traditional lessons, but if possible it will also follow a flipped classroom approach, with a guided discussion between the teacher and the attending students having already studied the course readings. Issues related to food history will be discussed experiencing different analytical approaches, including economic, technological-scientific, socio-cultural, and legal-political ones.
At the end of the lessons, a short exercise through the game-based learning platform Kahoot is occasionally envisaged.
The slides used to support the lessons will be uploaded to the Elly platform before the beginning of the lessons. To download the slides it will be necessary to enroll online in the course.
The slides are integral part of the teaching material. Non-attending students must recall to check the available teaching materials and the indications provided by the professor through the Elly platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

The evaluation will be carried through a 1 hour long written exam based on open answers. Two questions are envisaged (each counting 15 points), both divided in: (a) a general part (totaling a maximum of 10 points), and (b) a section focusing on specific sub-topics and applied historical cases (counting a maximum of 5 points). The final score will result by summing the points of each answer; the “cum laude” honor can be obtained when the scoring of higher points in both answers is coupled by a patent mastery of the subject as a whole.
Knowledge and understanding will be assessed by analyzing the contents of both answers.
The ability in applying knowledge and understanding will be verified by analyzing the answers given to the sections devoted to applied historical cases.
Learning skills and the ability in making judgments will verified by analyzing the answers given to the general part of the questions.
Communication skills and the ability in using the proper technical language will verified by analyzing the terms adopted in the answers and the propensity in clarifying their meaning.
For students attending the “flipped classroom” lessons, part of the evaluation will be based on short essays on the readings taken into analysis in class and on the contribution given during the discussion.

Other information

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