This program is designed for undergraduate students interested in the relationship between food, gender, and sustainability in the context of Italy. During this short-term program, you spend three weeks living in Italy exploring the distribution, production, and consumption of food. You will participate in local site visits at restaurants, food production sites, agritourism farm, food markets, cooking classes, etc. You will experience Italian cuisine and the gendered systems that produce it. These culinary experiences will be supplemented with other cultural activities. Please note that there will be class expectations in the week before in-country travel.
This program is based in Florence and includes day excursions and one overnight trip to Orbetello. Florence is the ideal setting to spend the summer exploring one of the most historic, cultural and beautiful cities in the world. The city is filled with cobblestone streets, open-air markets, unique food experiences, artistic masterpieces, stunning architecture, etc.
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to:
Discuss how gender, history, geography, and the marketplace impact food preferences, ethics, and availability
Analyze food ethics and sustainability
Develop awareness of the social, economic and environmental aspects of our global food system, and the various ways in which individuals and societies interact with and experience food
Make connections between eating and cultural identities and beliefs
Florence, Italy is the capital city of the Firenze province and Tuscany region. It is surrounded by the picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany. Florence is a majestic city that is visually stunning, culturally rich and has a storied past. Florence was founded as a Roman Military colony around the 1st Century BC. The city’s population began to grow due to its location in the fertile, farmable hills. Its location also was perfect for economic development in the region.
Florence became a haven for an ever-growing immigrant population that still exists today. Florence has its strong Italian roots but is also very much a multi-cultural city. Due to the growing economy and influx of immigrants it became the perfect location for merchants and artists. This in part, led to the Renaissance period in the 14th to 16th centuries. Many of the most influential artists of that time period flocked to the city to work on their art including Michelangelo, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Leonardo da Vinci. They left behind masterpieces in the forms of frescoes, sculptures, paintings and architecture that are still visible throughout the city today Despite its pivotal role in the history of civilization and its significance as an artistic and cultural center, Florence retains the bustle and charm of a small town in a bygone age. Ancient, medieval, renaissance, cosmopolitan, yet with all modern conveniences, Florence, perhaps more than any other city, is a tapestry displaying Europe's emergence from the Dark Ages through to the 21st century.
You will live like a Florentine during your program abroad. Housing placements are scattered throughout the city-center and location depends on availability and housing option. Exact addresses are provided closer to departure. Regardless of accommodations, nothing is ever far from you in Florence. The city is a very flat, pedestrian friendly, and walkable city.
Like the streets of Florence, no two apartments on the Food Studies program are alike in terms of design, but all will give you a comfortable place to call home in Italy. Most apartments are located within 30-40 minute commute (usually less) to the CAPA Center, either on foot or by bus. Apartments are still within what is considered the city-center.
Shared bedrooms (typically 2 students/bedroom)
There are typically up to six students in each apartment
A fully equipped kitchen
En-suite shared bathroom
Shared living area
Washing machine(s) in the building (Italian apartments typically do not have dryers).
Meals aren’t included, so plan on learning to cook with local ingredients or budget money to eat out.
We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change. Contact your program manager with any questions.
You will take 2 courses for 6 credits. The Politics of Gender and Food course is cross-listed between GSWS and ANTH departments, so you will be enrolled in either GSWS 1180 or ANTH 1716. In addition, you will take ANTH 1752.
If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate requirement, please meet with your respective advisor to discuss the program and what the courses will fulfill for you.
The Politics of Gender and Food course fulfills a Global Issues general education requirement for A&S students. Anthropology of Food fulfills Cross-Cultural Awareness or Global Issues.
Food is sustenance and absolutely essential to life. But food is never simply about nutrition. Because it is fundamental to the human experience, food is also a medium for the expression of culture and social identity. Moreover, food relays complex social messages about gender, sexuality, and family. Consequently, food is also a means for expressing the social and symbolic use of power and control in which social inequalities are expressed in culinary forms. This course will examine food from the vantage point of gendered systems of production, distribution, and consumption as we consider: How does your food come to your table (or not) and what are the political implications of personal tastes? By the end of this course, students will be able to: 1) apply anthropological and feminist theories to food and eating in a cross-cultural perspective; 2) understand how gender, race and class influence our access to and perspective on food; 3) make connections between eating and cultural identities and beliefs; and 4) use writing (and rewriting) as a process for developing understanding, exploring alternative points of view, considering their audience, and entering into an academic conversation.
The University of Pittsburgh partners with the CAPA the Global Education Network for this program. For more than 45 years CAPA: The Global Education Network has worked with institutions of higher education to build programs that meet their goals for learning abroad. CAPA operates education centers in Global Cities and have developed distinct academic offerings, support frameworks, and oversight structures for students and visiting faculty. The CAPA Florence Center is housed in Palazzo Galli-Tassi, a 15th century palace in the Santa Croce neighborhood. The CAPA Florence team is available throughout your program to assist and support you 24/7 with any urgent situations.
Hi! I'm Lauren, Program Manager for Arts & Sciences students. As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Marburg, Germany. Since then, my career in international education has taken me to many locations around the world. Particularly, I have an affinity for Florence, Italy. There is nothing quite like the challenge of navigating a new city, country, and culture! Let's chat about global experiences.
Schedule an appointment
Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!
- Schedule an appointment with me using my personal link.
- Login to Pathways with your Pitt username and password
- Select Find Available Time
- Select the time you want to meet
- Review the appointment and click the schedule button
- You will see a graphic that confirms that you have made an appointment with me & receive a confirmation in your Pitt email
Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frayda Cohen is a Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Adviser for the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. She is a cultural anthropologist whose research interests are on children and adoption, gender, food, and transnationalism. She has spent several years working in China and was also previously the Director for the summer 6-week study abroad program, Pitt in China. More recently, she has traveled to Italy and is developing a project on emerging Chinese communities in Italy. She regularly teaches courses on gender and food, global feminisms, gendered bodies, and popular culture, and feminist theory.
Items Billed by Pitt
|Study Abroad Fee||$300.00||$300.00|
|Total Billed by Pitt||$6,199.00||$6,399.00|
Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs
|Meals and Personal Expenses||~ $1,000|
Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.
As a part of your Food Studies program fee, the following are included:
- Tuition for 6 credits
- Shared accommodations through the program
- Excursions and cultural activities - Day excursions may include: Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Modena, a slow food farm, wine/olive oil producers.
- Overnight trip to Orbetello, including transportation and accommodations in a shared hotel room.
- Local bus pass
- Class related activities such as tours of markets, food farms, a fish hatchery, a visit to Etruscan ruins, and cooking class
- International travel health insurance
- Apartment transfer on arrival
This program takes place in May. Students should expect required coursework in the week prior to arrival in-country. Exact dates can be found in the sidebar.
This program is historically oversubscribed - meaning, there are more applicants than spaces available. Please thoroughly read through the program overview and course descriptions before answering your application essay questions.
Florence is very warm in the summer. Please prepare yourself that A/C is not as common and is regulated.