Inside the classroom

A day in the life

Inside the classroom


There is a strong interest in Italian culture here at Dalhousie. Our food course is always either full or beyond capacity.

Study food and culture in Modern Italian Culture

Like any great cook, Assistant Professor Paolo Matteucci knows the way to our minds is through our stomachs.

His course ITAL 2200 Modern Italian Culture is open to everyone and examines a specific theme – the history of Italian regionalism and its fragmented national identity – through a universal idea: food. Students discuss Italian culture, art and community through the diversity of Italy’s kitchens and the appetites of its citizens.

“Each week we consider one specific region, at one point in time. Then chronologically, we go from modernity to the present,” says Dr. Matteucci.

“Italy has a long history of fragmentation,” he explains. “Even today, if you look at soccer rivalries, politics and food, you have an oscillation between the local and the global. It is specifically the localism that makes the country unified.”

Students make a meal of cultural phenomena like Nutella, pasta and polenta; they cook up essays on Italian futurist cooking manifestos and methods like carneplastico, where artists assemble meat into geometric shapes; and there’s lively over-the-table discussions about the invention of Italian-American cuisine and the importance of the Slow Food movement.

But be warned: there’s a huge appetite for this course from majors and non-majors alike; it's getting rave reviews, so if you want a seat at this table, you’d better make a reservation.

“There is a strong interest in Italian culture here at Dalhousie,” says Dr. Matteucci happily. “Our food course is always either full or beyond capacity.”