Program

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.

Internship
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.

For more information contact: segreteria@unisg.it

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.

Master in Food Culture and Communications: High-Quality Products
Start Date: September 17, 2014 (A.Y. 2014-15)

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.

Master in Food Culture and Communications: Representation, Meaning, and Media
Start Date: November 19, 2014 (A.Y. 2014-15)

Food is both a construct and a representation of our culture. Like language, it gives form to meaning, yet it also can alter our sense of the real and elicit new notions of “truth.” In order to effectively portray stories about food and food culture, we must not only integrate diverse perspectives from multiple professions and disciplines, we must also be able understand the ways in which knowledge is both formed and represented. The media—encompassing all modes of representation—literally mediate what we understand to be true, and so studying those forms is as important as learning how to create the content of the stories that are put forward.

While trends and fashions abound in commercial communications channels, the voices of academics, critics, and bloggers can also be subject to such influences. In the realm of gastronomy, social uncertainty and food insecurity are compounded with the divergent needs and pathways of agriculture, distributors, and consumers, all leading to unforeseen challenges and complexity in bringing to light a given story. Communications work holds an enormous responsibility in gastronomy, and requires a subtle and attentive approach to both medium and message.

This stream of the master is intended to build innovative and integrated communications skills, and contribute to improving the quality of food culture overall. Grounded in an ecosystem theory of communication, the program will immerse students in the issues facing professionals today, bringing together the roles of the journalist, theoretician, educator, marketer, and gastronome.

The scientific Director of the Master in Food Culture and Communications: Representation, Meaning, and Media is David Szanto 

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

The Master in Food Culture and Communications: Representation, Place, and Identity is a food studies program with a particular focus on anthropology, sociology, and history, as well as the ways that food is communicated and represented in a variety of media. This link, between food cultures and communications, always implicates place and identity as well. Whether addressing urban food systems, zero-mile food, traditional products, Japanese cuisine, or French wines, the relationship between food and place is always present. As in the concept of terroir, when such factors as place, climate, local knowledge, and human sensibilities converge, new understandings of food, taste, culture, quality, and meaning emerge. This program explores these relationships from the perspective of food policy, heritage and memory, geography, and cultural artifacts that range from film to literature to social media. Course content also incorporates the exchanges and hybridizations brought about by human mobility and interaction, with material on migration, diasporas, food globalization, and the sociology of culinary tourism. A comprehensive theory- and practice-based survey of communications and media studies is also included, providing students with a critical approach to interpreting, representing, and communicating about food, using written, verbal, graphic, and multimedia modes.

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.