courses > 2019 fall

Elective Courses


ITAL 300 | COML 300
401 | SEM | Filippo Trentin | MW 3:30-5pm | WILL 320

Today, Italian cuisine is considered one of the most famous and attractive culinary traditions in the world, with “Italian food” referring to such globally popular dishes as pizza or pasta, as well as to quality products ranging from well-toasted coffee beans to expensive truffles and red wines. But the popularity of Italian food is a relatively recent phenomenon. In past centuries this category indicated sour wines, spicy meats, and poorly prepared dishes. What is Italian food really? When did its success start? And how did this category change throughout time? In this course we will answer these and other questions by exploring Italian history and culture through the lens of food. We will discuss films, cook books and treatises on taste, reading, for instance, the recipes included in Pellegrino Aretusi’s The Science of the Kitchen (1891) in relation to Italy’s political and cultural unification in the 19th-century; interpreting the representation of food in Luca Guadagnino’s film I Am Love (2009) in relation to philosophical treatises on taste by Plato and Aristotle; and examining the emergence of a multicultural and queer society in 21st-century Italy through the representation of food in Ferzan Ozpetek’s film His Secret Life (2001). This course is taught in English. No previous knowledge of the subject or language skills are required.