Food and Culture: The Italian Experience
This innovative 2-week study abroad program will be a faculty-led experience to one of the most beautiful and culturally significant regions in the world — Tuscany, Italy. The course will be an intensive, full-immersion academic and cultural exploration centered on the theme of Food and Culture in the perfectly preserved, magical medieval city of Siena. No previous knowledge of Italian is required; all that is required is a love for Italian food and culture!
The program will be taught by Vetri Nathan, professor at UMass Boston, in collaboration with the Università per Stranieri di Siena (University for Foreigners of Siena), with support from Chef Angelo Guida, Italian chef instructor at UMass Amherst and Dr. Elena Monami from the Università per stranieri.
Areas of Focus
MDNLNG 290 Special Topics: Food In Italian Culture
(3 credits - required)
Food represents one of the most attractive features of Italian culture. In this course, students will undertake a rigorous cultural and critical exploration of the role of food in society through the examination of the Italian case. This summer’s course will primarily focus on representations of food in Italian cinema and popular culture. The aim of this interdisciplinary course will be to gain expertise in understanding how questions of personal and collective identity are expressed and regulated through food in all societies. Classroom assignments will include an exploration of food practices in Siena and other food-based activities in combination with readings and film screenings.
Cucina e Conversazione
An important component of this course will be "Cucina e conversazione": cooking classes with Chef Angelo Guida.
Students will participate in hands-on cooking classes that will allow them to experience and be part of the Italian obsession with food. They will also have the opportunity to practice conversational Italian as they learn to cook. There will be six sessions of three hours each where participants will learn about the cuisine and culture of six different Italian regions. Chef Guida, your chef instructor, has extensive experience as head chef in several top restaurants in Italy and the United Kingdom.
The cooking classes will serve as a cornerstone experience for the program. Each evening class will end with the traditional sit-down dinner as a group where everyone will be able to taste their own gastronomic creations.
Italian language course through the Università per Stranieri di Siena
(3 credits - optional)
Italy can be best experienced in a meaningful and thoughtful way if visitors learn the language and interact with the local community. Participants in this program can therefore enroll in an intensive two-week language program taught at the renowned Università per Stranieri. Options include a range of classes, from beginner level to advanced conversation courses.
Itinerary for Summer 2013
In addition to the areas of focus above, participants will participate in a weekend field trip to Rome and the Vatican City, and a day trip to Florence, where students will learn more about the history of Ancient Rome and the Renaissance!
- June 1: Arrival in Siena¹ and program orientation.
- June 5: Field trip to Florence
- June 8-9: Weekend Field trip to Rome
- June 15: Depart to the U.S.
- Student housing will be in a beautifully restored medieval building of fully updated apartments, located in the historic heart of Siena. This "living and learning" space, (especially the fully equipped kitchens!) will be an important element of the course. Take a look at pictures and full description of the apartments: http://www.residenceparadisotoscana.eu/index_eng.html
Courses and Credit
This program is a very affordable option as it will allow students to earn up to six credits while experiencing one of the most alluring cultural destinations in the world. There are no prerequisites for this course, and no previous knowledge of Italian is required.
- MDNLNG 290 Special Topics: Food In Italian Culture 3 credits (Required)
Italian Language at the Università per stranieri 3 credits (Optional)
Students will be placed in the appropriate course based upon their previous language experience.
For Italian Studies majors and minors: The MDNLNG 290 course can count towards your major or minor. Students with advanced knowledge of Italian who do not require a language course can discuss options with Professor Nathan so that they can take an alternative independent study course.
There is also a non-credit option for this course for those who wish to partake in this wonderful experience but receive no academic credit. For details please contact Jennifer Goode-Sollis.
Vetri Nathan is an Assistant Professor of Italian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. He received his PhD from Stanford University and specializes in Immigration and globalization in Italy, Italian cinema, and postcolonial/transnational theory.