Carbone Teaching Culture and Food Course at Rome’s Gustolab Institute

Elena Carbone

This summer, Elena Carbone, associate professor of nutrition and director of the Community-Engaged Research Program (CERP) at Commonwealth Honors College, is teaching a course in Rome as part of the Gustolab Institute’s “Critical Studies on Food in Italy” program.

Gustolab is the first academic center for food and culture studies in Italy, and partners with UMass Amherst in offering the program each summer. Titled "Nutrition, Culture and Food," Carbone’s course focuses on how culture and ethnicity affect dietary practices, with particular emphasis on Italy as compared to the United States.

“We discuss the influence of politics on food availability and food practices, as well as the importance of cross-cultural communications to address nutrition and cultural issues,” she said.

Cathy Wickham, a Ph.D. candidate in nutrition, has traveled along with Carbone, helping teach the class and gathering information for her dissertation work. Among the six UMass Amherst students in the course are two from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences.

In addition to the course, Carbone participated as an invited panelist at two presentations in Rome: “Biocultural Diversity: a Public Health Perspective” at the Echi Oltremare Conference on May 30, and “Teaching and Learning Abroad: Impact on the Field of Nutrition” at the Cerealia Festival on June 7.