cod. 1008459

Academic year 2022/23
1° year of course - Annual
Academic discipline
Storia medievale (M-STO/01)
Scienze del territorio e della memoria
Type of training activity
64 hours
of face-to-face activities
8 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

- At the end of the course the student will be able
- to report the general outlines of the Food History in Europe from the classical age to the present day; to present the evolution of the gastronomic culture in Europe from the classical age to the present day; to make an appropriate use of the specific vocabulary of the historical disciplines
- to recognize different kinds of written and iconographic sources concerning the Food History, to place them in space and time and to produce a sufficiently articulated discourse aware of the social and cultural context that generated them
- to recognize the relationship between structures and exercise of power and production, transformation, distribution and fruition of food from the late antiquity to the contemporary world.
- to know the main types of texts and documents that over time have dealt with agro-food production, gastronomic culture and cooking practices, the arts and convivial ceremonies.

- to understand how perceptions of taste and predilections of food and the table are constantly evolving and from time to time an expression of social, economic and cultural contexts and conditionings

- to know how to identify the symbolic values and celebratory meanings that over time have been recognized to foods and certain convivial rituals in ordinary and festive consumption dynamics

- to find sources and basic bibliography referring to a specific field of investigation, thanks to a critical ability that allows the student to distinguish among scientifically valid texts, informative texts, unverifiable informations.
- to set and carry out a basic historical investigation concerning specif issues about the Food History


Knowledge of the Italian language; basic notions of Italian and European Geography; general outlines of European History (V-XXI centuries).

Course unit content

The course is divided into three parts:
Thinking about food: from classical age to contemporary age
Food history in Europe (V-XXI centuries)
History of Italian gastronomic literature (prof. Lucchetti)

In the first part the teacher will introduce and discuss on the one hand the medical and philosophical reflection concerning food and the evolution of the taste from classical age to the present day in Europe;
in the second part the focus will be on food consumption, with regard to the demographic curve, the economic conjunture and the social, political and institutional changes in Europe (V-XXI centuries).
The third module will outline the main types of sources for gastronomic culture and convivial art, outlining a history of gastronomic literature from Antiquity to the early twentieth century, analyzing the most significant texts and recipe books.

Full programme

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All the students are required to study the following texts:
 M. Montanari, La fame e l'abbondanza. Storia dell'alimentazione in Europa, Laterza, Roma- Bari (various reissues)
 M. Montanari, Il cibo come cultura, Laterza, Roma-Bari (various reissues)
Furthermore, attending students must choose and study ONE of the following readings:
 A Companion to Food in the Ancient World, ed. J. Wilkins - R. Nadeau, Wiley Blackwell, Chichester 2015 (pp. 1-282)
 B. Laurioux, Manger au Moyen Age: Pratiques et discours alimentaires en Europe au XIVe et XVe siècles, Paris 2013
 Nutrire il corpo, nutrire l’anima nel Medioevo, a cura di C. Crisciani – O. Grassi, Pisa, ETS, 2017
 F. Braudel, Civiltà materiale, economia, capitalismo (secoli XV-XVIII). Le strutture del quotidiano, Einaudi, Torino (varie ristampe)
 A. Toaff, Mangiare alla giudia. La cucina ebraica in Italia dal Rinascimento all’età moderna, Bologna 20112
Il mondo in cucina. Storia, identità, scambi, a cura di M. Montanari, Roma-Bari 2006
 S. Pinkard, A Revolution in Taste. The Rise of French Cuisine, 1650-1800, Cambridge 2008
 J.P. Aron, La Francia a tavola. Dall’Ottocento alla Belle epoque, Einaudi, Torino 1978
 Storia d'Italia. Annali 13. L'alimentazione, a cura di A. Capatti - A. De Bernardi - A. Varni, Einaudi, Torino 1998 (Introduzione; saggi di: M. L. Betri, V. Zamagni, F. Chiapparino, G. Gallo et al., G. Moricola, G. Pedrocco, M.P. Moroni Salvatori, P. Sorcinelli, P. Corti, A. Capatti)
 A. Capatti – M. Montanari, La cucina italiana. Storia di una cultura, Roma-Bari 1999
 A. Capatti, Storia della cucina italiana, Milano, Guido Tommasi, 2014

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons. During the classes the teacher will introduce and analyze written and iconographic sources uploaded on the e-learning website Elly.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final examination is divided into two part:
A written test with five multiple choice questions and one semi-closed question concerning themes and issues analyzed during the classes taught by Potito d’Arcangelo (moduli A and B) and Tommaso Lucchetti (modulo C); one open-ended question concerning the additional reading.
The second consists of a research paper: starting from an unpublished source, whether it is a written document (a recipe book, a menu, a chronicle, etc.) or an oral memory (memories or interviews with people still alive who bear witness to significant memories) , we will try to reconstruct the history of a product, a recipe, a convivial tradition or a ritual food, freely chosen by each student, according to their personal inclinations, interests or cultural and territorial affiliations. In any case, it is always required that the student first propose the chosen subject for approval to the teacher. The work must consist of at least 3 pages accompanied by a bibliography and a list of sources used. The reading and consultation of texts specially researched and consulted in the library will be strictly required, and not exclusively a collection of notions formed by generic navigation on websites.
The accuracy of grammar, spelling and syntax will be closely assessed.

Other information

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