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Matters of Taste: French Eating Cultures (FREN20013)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5Not available in 2019

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Year of offerNot available in 2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeFREN20013
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

In France since the 19th century, the preparation, serving and consumption of food and drink, in both the domestic and public space, has been emblematic of French bourgeois cultural hegemony. In this subject students will examine the elaboration of normative codes relating to food and wine and the emergence of gastronomy as an expression of cultural dominance and identity. Students will also study challenges to bourgeois cuisine and gastronomy as have been experienced since at least the mid-20th century, resulting from the colonial history of France and globalisation. Contemporary issues relating to food sovereignty and security will be considered in the context of French and European appellations and provenance regulations. Students will engage with a wide variety of discursive practices including treatises on taste and gastronomy, recipe books, restaurant critiques, works of fiction and contemporary film. This subject is taught and assessed in French.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • have gained an appreciation of academic French through the confident use of sophisticated oral and written French at level B2/C1 of the Common European Framework for Languages;
  • have gained an overview of the development of the French culinary tradition from the Middle-Ages to the present, and an appreciation of the different factors leading to the emergence of the concepts of taste, terroir and French gastronomy in the 19th century;
  • be able to understand the challenges to French bourgeois cultural hegemony effected by immigration, globalisation, and integration in the European Union, as well as the impact of these challenges on shaping today’s French cuisine;
  • be able to draw from, and reflect upon, their own eating and drinking experiences to gain an understanding of the major role of food and drink as a marker of cultural and national identity, as well as the site of cultural resistance in the context of immigration and globalisation;
  • be able to interpret and give a critical analysis of French literary texts, recipe books, films, documentaries, and other media related to the topic of food and French gastronomy;
  • have gained the confidence and competence in conducting small research projects, either independently or collaboratively, in the field of French Studies;
  • be able to employ learning and research technologies in French and English.

Generic skills

At the completion of this subject, students should:

  • have developed research skills: through frequent and systematic use of the library and other information sources, the definition of areas of inquiry and familiarisation with research methods;
  • have developed critical thinking and analytical skills: through required and recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by assessing the strength of arguments;
  • be able to think in theoretical and analytical terms: through lectures, tutorial discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences;
  • have an understanding of social, political, historical and cultural contexts and international awareness/openness to the world: through the contextualisation of judgements and knowledge, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and new aspects of French and Italian cultura, and by formulating arguments;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligbily and economically: through essay and assignment writing, tutorial discussion and class presentations;
  • be able to time manage and plan: through managing and organising workloads for required and recommended reading, essay and assignment completion and revision for examinations.

Last updated: 12 July 2019