ANTH – Consuming Identities: Food and Drink as Cultural Heritage

Overview of the course: This interdisciplinary course focuses on European culinary practices, food, drink, and concepts of authenticity and terroir. Its focus is on Basque, French, Spanish, and Italian cultures, cuisines, and culinary practices.

Food is necessary to stay alive, yet it is always transformed symbolically through the social meanings and settings in which it is produced, consumed, and distributed.  Food is the backbone of society and sociability. Food is also the foundation of every economy. Food marks social differences, boundaries, bonds, and contradictions.  Eating is a continually evolving enactment of gender, family, community, and self/regional/national identities.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and analyze the various complex ways in which food, drink, and commensality shape and transform human relationships, create boundaries and social differences in various European cultures;
  • Articulate the relationship(s) between identity formation, the consumption of food and drink, and concepts of authenticity, value, heritage, and terroir;
  • Analyze culinary & drinking practices and products in relation to the articulation of cultural heritage(s).

Student participation in regular, structured discussion groups will help them integrate their knowledge of European gastronomy and culture as the session progresses and will enable them to draw upon other learning experiences relating to other cultures, including their own.