Comparative Eurasian Foodways: A Cultural, Agricultural, and Gastronomic Odyssey

Winter 2020
Spring 2020
OlympiaStudy Abroad
Olympia +
study abroad option
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Andrew Reece
classical art and literature
agricultural ecology, food systems
Feminist Theory, Cultural Studies

Did Italy or China create pasta?  Why are Greek Islands known for their human longevity?  How did salt springs and marshes contribute to the development of parmesan cheese, prosciutto and dried plums ( hua mei )?

The goal of this program is to understand why we eat what we eat in relation to the major historical, cultural and geographic influences on Eurasian agriculture, diet, and cuisines. Using a case study approach to compare Chinese, Greek and Italian cuisines, we’ll explore how the environment and cultural histories inform what and how we eat today. 

The program involves two travel abroad opportunities. Students can travel to China for the three weeks in winter quarter. Students can also travel to Greece and Italy for five weeks in spring quarter. In winter, students will study the geography and history of food, as well as books, films, and lectures on the agriculture, food, literature, history and culture of the three geographical areas.  Students will also develop an individual research project, to be done locally or abroad.

While completing their field experiences, students will maintain academic travel journals that synthesize on-campus learning with the experiences in-country, to result in individual ePortfolios. Preparation on-campus will involve botany and food labs, as well as lectures, seminars, and workshops on culture, agriculture, literature, and history. For the final two weeks of spring, students will compare their field experiences in relation to the program’s generative questions, continue to work on their research projects, and share their learning in final presentations.

Study Abroad, China: We will spend the last two weeks of winter quarter plus spring break week in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Wuyi exploring relationships between food and the vast infrastructures of China's ancient and newly constructed Silk Roads. We will experience food markets, museums, agricultural tours, tea ceremonies and walking parts of the Tea Horse Trail. Students who find themselves unable to travel to China in winter quarter of Comparative Eurasian Foodways will continue their study of foodways on campus.

Study-Abroad-Only Option: Community members may participate in the trip to China as Special Students, registering with CRN 20366 for 2 or 4 credits for study abroad. Current students may also register. This option will include 3 orientation sessions on Saturdays January 11, February 8 & 22,  4-6 PM, to apply for visas and preparation activities. Interested parties should contact the faculty directly for information and permission to register. 

Study Abroad, Greece and Italy:  In spring, we will start our five-week visit to Greece and Italy. Sites will include Thessaloniki, a major agricultural area in north Greece, along with Athens, Delphi, and Olympia, and Crete, where we will explore architecture and museums along with farms and markets. Taking a ferry to Italy, where we will stay for two weeks, we will visit farms, food processors, and art museums. Students who are unable to travel to Greece and Italy in spring can enroll in Comparative Eurasian Foodways: Immigrant Experiencesfor exploration of migration on foodways.

Study abroad:

An optional 3 weeks study abroad is offered in China at the end of Winter quarter.

Estimated Costs: 

SpecialExpenses: $1400   (Estimated expenses students will cover themselves including visa and airline ticket)

Required Student Fee: $2000 (Fee covers group expenses for services organized by college)

Administrative Fee:   $400  (Nonrefundable deposit to cover administrative costs of running study abroad)


Spring Quarter Greece and Italy Study Abroad: 

Estimated Costs: 

Special Expenses: $1600  (Estimated expenses students will cover themselves including airfare and some meals)

Required Student Fee: $5800   (Fee covers group expenses for services organized by college)

Administrative Fee:   $400  (Nonrefundable deposit to cover administrative costs of running study abroad)



This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Food and Agriculture, Cultural Studies, Literature and Classics, Education, Community Studies


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$200 for entrance fees in winter

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 9:00 am
SEM 2 B1107 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia

2019-03-04study abroad information updated
2018-11-06Study Abroad Fees updated