The course aims to illustrate the character of the main food crops, highlighting their change over time depending on the transformation from agricultural to industrial society.
teacher profile | teaching materials


This course first settles the framework of the theoretical and methodological aspects of the history of food cultures. In particular, the class will focus on the cultural and social features that have marked the imaginary and the use of food in the contemporary age.
The first part of the course (6 hours) is devoted to the introduction of the theoretical and methodological aspects of cultural history and the history of material cultures. The second part of the course (6 hours) addresses the long-term historical changes of agriculture in the contemporary age. The third part of the course (18 hours) is concerned with the history of Italian food culture with particular attention to Mediterranean food cultures. The fourth part of the course (6 hours) is focused on three aspects on the cultural relations between food and society: food and the environment, food and inequalities, food and religions.
The fifth part of the course (12 hours) proposes the analysis of four case-studies of eno-gastronomic history: the Mediterranean Diet, the agro-food economy (at a global level), the agro-food economy (at national level), the agro-mafie.

Core Documentation

Alberto Capatti e Massimo Montanari, La cucina italiana. Storia di una cultura, Roma-Bari, Laterza 2017, 424 p., € 14,00.
A book to be chosen from:
Cibo, a cura di Ester Fano, Nora McKeon e Giancarlo Monina, “Parolechiave”, 58, dicembre 2017, 240 p., € 22,00.
Massimo Montanari, Il cibo come cultura, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2017, 186 p., € 10,00
Essays of your choice (minimum 3) from Storia d’Italia, Annali 13, L’alimentazione, Torino, Einaudi, 1998 (in the library)

Type of delivery of the course

The course will be held in the traditional way or modality of frontal lessons. During the lessons the students are asked to compare the treated topic with their own personal experience.

Type of evaluation

The oral exam focuses on the main topics treated in the textbooks. For attending students, particular attention is devoted to the contents of the lessons.