Food and Films

Francesca Coin

Instructor: Dr Francesca Coin

University of Pisa /Gambero Rosso Catania 2015

Main Goals:

Food is the most basic of all human needs, and yet it constitutes a very sophisticated symbolic language. Food is never simply a necessity for survival. Food is also a symbol and a communication system that delivers many of the meanings we assign to culture. The symbolic value of food is used for the positioning of social group identities as well as  shaping matters of policy, security, education and national identity. The goal of this class is to introduce students to cultural studies on media and food studies that help us dissect social issues of race, class, gender and sexuality.

Generally, each meeting will consist of two segments. The first one is devoted to discussing the assigned readings; the second one is devoted to classroom discussion concerning film footage and media analysis. What role does food play in our society? Through what cultural lenses is food made meaningful? What do we define as food culture or food counterculture in our society? 


How does culture influence our eating habits? How does our relationship with food change transnationally? During the last week of our classes, you are required to keep a food diary. Each day’s entry will be a chronology all of your food-related thoughts and activities. What do you eat? What do you dream of eating? Your journal should include everything you think and do regarding food. Please write down what, when, where,  how and with whom you eat or dream of food. What is our food culture? What imagery do our thoughts convey? Your diary will be shared with the class in the form of a class discussion. Your participation in the discussion will be noted for evaluation.