Master programs in Food Culture and Communications will be offered in 2014. Each is a separate and complete Master program with a specific thematic stream. The different streams of the Master share a common core of coursework, complemented by specialized material unique to that stream. Each, however, is designed for international students seeking an innovative approach to the study of food and foodways and the ways in which they are discussed and represented today.

The program offers a wide mix of in-class lessons, exercises, guided tastings, projects, and study trips in Italy and abroad to provide a multi-experiential understanding of both high-quality artisanal and industrial food products, their ecology, agronomy, technology, history, anthropology, sociology, as well as the necessary knowledge and expertise for communicating them.

Instructors include internationally recognized scholars, journalists, and gastronomy experts, including: Carole Counihan, Barny Haughton, Corby Kummer, Stuart Franklin, Anne Noble, Carlo Petrini, and others.

Through an approach that merges anthropology, history, ecology, food policy, agronomy, economics, food and sensory sciences, tasting sessions, communications, and a wide range of other subjects, students acquire the tools for developing new conceptualisations, communications, and educational strategies within the realm of high-quality gastronomy. Graduates emerge ready for careers in community-based project management, education, marketing and public relations.

In addition to this breadth of study, each stream of the master also includes a distinct academic focus, falling into the following themes. Note that the four streams of the program each have different start dates.

Each stream of master comprises 90 university credits and leads to a 1st level Master degree. The language of instruction is English. The program lasts 14 months and a minimum of 80% attendance is required.

Master in Food Culture and Communications: Representation, Place, and Identity
Start Date: March 11, 2015 (A.Y. 2014-15)

The Master’s program in Food Culture and Communications: Representation, Place, and Identity is a unique introduction to food studies that educates the best food communicators and cultural mediators of the future to work and operate in a global scenario. The program includes three parts: coursework, study trips, and internships. The courses in the program have two major concentrations: “food history, anthropology, and sociology,” which explores the relationships between food and multiple identities and places (body, home, community, city, region, nation, and global); and “communication and media,” which explores the theories of meaning and representation and offers practical classes in food writing, photography, documentary film, and video. Furthermore, tasting classes introduce students to the deep understanding of quality wine, olive oil, cured meats, chocolate, balsamic vinegar, and cheese. Classes are taught by top international scholars. A unique study trip program brings students to experience hands on the world of food production and marketing, with an emphasis on independent, organic, and sustainable farming and fishing. An amazing variety of exciting internships in every part of the world are available to all students. The diversity of our students, coming from the five continents and very different cultural background, incredibly enrich the experience and creates networks of friendship that last for a lifetime. Come join the Master’s program in “Food Culture and Communications: Representation, Place, and Identity” to explore, understand, and love the whole fascinating world of food!

Master in Food Culture and Communications: High-Quality Products
Start Date: September 9, 2015 (A.Y. 2015-16)

The Master in Food Culture and Communications: High-Quality Products is characterized by an in-depth exploration of themes related to products that characterize gastronomy as well as artisanal foods of excellence. With these products as its focus, the Master provides an ongoing comparison with agro-industrial foods to grasp their characteristics and differences. The products examined during the course will include beverages such as spirits, wines, and beers, and foods such as cheeses, meats, pasta and rice, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and spices, chocolate, coffee, and tea. High-quality products often have a non-tangible value, are purchased for what they represent, and have roles as status symbols. Many of them, if not all, are profoundly linked to a specific region with which they are closely identified. The objective of this Master is also to understand the cultural appeal of the products, and what constitutes the link between the product and the region. This approach necessitates a change of perspective, that is, starting not from the “region,” but rather from the taste of the product, which will be analyzed, understood, and described, and then working backwards to figure out which factors have created this “taste”: the methods of production, the raw materials, and the “place” and history that led to the product’s origin will also be examined.

The scientific Director of the Master in Food Culture and Communications: High-Quality Products is Mirco Marconi

Master in Food Culture and Communications: Human Ecology and Sustainability
Start Date: November 18, 2015 (A.Y. 2015-16)

The Master in Food Culture and Communications: Human Ecology and Sustainability will address the importance of social, economic, and environmental sustainability in food production and consumption networks, and especially the relevance of traditional knowledge in understanding small-scale sustainable production of high-quality local food and bio-cultural diversities and heritage as well.

The human ecology and sustainability area of the programme will focus on a comprehensive overview of issues related to sustainability, human ecology, environmental studies, and ethnobiology.

This area will analyse in particular how traditional knowledge, beliefs and practises related to the natural environment and cuisines are embedded in the socio-ecological systems and how these inextricable links are crucial for implementing community-based and sustainable management of local resources, as well as for fostering good practices of production and consumption of organic and local foods.

The Master will address also the role of women in local food systems, the dynamic nature of local ecological knowledge, ethnobotany, agro-ecology, organic agriculture, migrants’ food systems, and the relevance of all these in modern public health and nutritional policies.

The scientific Director of the Master in Food Culture and Communications: Human Ecology and Sustainability is Professor Andrea Pieroni and the faculty of the Master’s program includes some university professors, experts in the field, such as Colin Sage, Rick Stepp, Justin Nolan, Paul Sillitoe and others.

A 4-to-8-weeks long internship (in 2014) and 2-to-4-months long internship (in 2015) concludes the master, with each student working within a company or organization in Italy or abroad, or within a UNISG research project. Internships focus on sustainable food production or communication and are the basis for a final thesis presented to an academic committee.

Over the course of the year, master program staff assist students in researching and identifying internships and hosts suited to their individual interests. While some internship hosts may occasionally provide room and board, students are responsible for all expenses related to their internships.

Final Thesis
The final thesis is the culmination of the master program and offers the student the opportunity to synthesize both theoretical and practical coursework, including the internship. The thesis, including methodologies and a report on the internship work, is completed individually and is evaluated by an academic committee.

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