Examine the relationship between food and culture in the context of France, a country well-known for its commitment to food.
|Location||Montpellier & Paris, France|
|Credit Type||Resident Credit|
|Sponsor||Learning Abroad Center|
|Student Type||UofM Students, Non UofM Students|
|Student Year||Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors|
|Language||No Language Prerequisite|
French philosopher of gastronomy Brillat-Savarin wrote famously in his Physiology of Taste: “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” While this is a truism that could pertain to any individual and any society, France—and the French—have a cultural identity that is especially signified through food, from the cuisine gastronomique to the humble baguette. It’s no surprise that French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’s The Raw and the Cooked proposes a system for studying cultures expressed in culinary terms. The symbolic equivalence between food and cultural identity has long been perpetuated in political, economic, and scholarly discourses as well as in literature and film. The bigger-than-life appetites of the hero of Rabelais’s Gargantua link the ingestion and digestion of vast quantities of food to the production and consumption of knowledge in the new age of humanism sweeping through France during the Renaissance. In modern times, a much celebrated scene in Proust’s Swann’s Way made a simple tea cake (madeleine) synonymous with the narrator’s childhood memories and, in the broader spectrum, cultural memories. Dining scenes are often a feature of French films, reflecting the importance of social rituals surrounding the preparing and eating of food and the communities that form or are affirmed through them.
The purpose of this course is to examine the relationship of food to culture in a place where food is a privileged cultural medium—one could say almost a national pastime. In an average French household, the time spent acquiring fresh ingredients, preparing meals, and consuming them far outpaces that spent by American families in the same activities. Food and its manner of consumption can tell us much about gender, family, class and ethnic differences as well as and the principles of sociability and conviviality attending the French meal; it can also reveal how national and regional identities evolve, as new foods, languages and cultural practices are assimilated.
Course readings will draw on a variety of disciplinary perspectives on the theme of the place of food, from cultural anthropology to history, to sociology, to cultural studies and gastronomy as well as to literature and film. Discussion and written assignments are intended to invite students to understand the cultural specificity of the French while reflecting critically on the differences in the role food plays in our own culture.
You will live in shared housing with other program participants. Welcome and farewell meals, and some other additional meals, are included in the program fee. Additional meals can be prepared in the housing or taken at local eateries.
We will visit a number of locations where food is produced and consumed:
Trina Whitaker is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in French within the College of Liberal Arts who has been teaching French language and culture for over 25 years.
Learning Abroad Center programs are:
|Program Type||Field Study, Study Abroad Center, Instructor-Led|
|Program Level||3000-level coursework|
One 3-credit course
Coursework for this program will include a mix of journal assignments and papers.
Receive credit for: FREN 3650 (elective for French major or minor) or FREN 3750 (non French major or minor)
Liberal Education fulfillment: Global Perspectives
|Term||Program Dates||Priority Application Deadline*||Final Application Deadline|
|May Session 2021||May 14 – Jun 5, 2021||February 1, 2021||March 1, 2021|
If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.
Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 16 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.
See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.
|May Session 2021||TBD||TBD|
May Session 2021 Cost of Participation forthcoming
Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, airfare, and program inclusions. The program fee generally includes tuition, group flight airfare, program administration, housing, some meals, international health insurance, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, and local transportation. Generally, our program fees range between $6,300–$7,000. You must also budget for passport and passport photos, most meals, textbooks, independent travel, and miscellaneous living expenses.
If you do not see a cost of participation for the term you intend to go abroad, the fee has not yet been finalized. We strive to post fees for this program at least 30 days prior to the application deadline. The Learning Abroad Center will delay the posting of some fees until enrollments, inflation, and exchange rates are determined. Note the average increase in fees will be 3–10%. Program fees are based on estimates and may change depending on international economic factors.
Fees or tuition from home institutions may be added to or differ from the University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center fees listed on this page.
Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.
To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:
|Center Name||TC Learning Abroad Ctr|
|Education Abroad Term||May Session 2021|
|Program Name||Global Seminar: Consuming French Culture & Cuisine|
|Track Name||Consuming French Culture & Cuisine|
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email toAmy Garwood-Diaz or call at 612.624.1537.
Tuesday, December 15th 2:30–3:30p.m.