Creative Writing/English

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Paris, Provence and Brittany, France


Spring 3-week, 2016

The Faculty:

Ella Kirk, Professor of French

Colin Anderson, Professor of Philosophy 

The Course:

INTD 3XX Ethics and Culture of Food


Cultural explanations of our practices and intuitions about food typically aim at a non-evaluative perspective.  Ethics studies the normative justifications of our practices and intuitions and thus must adopt an evaluative perspective.  In this course, we will examine food within the context of French culture while analyzing the normative dimensions of our practices and why we believe the things we believe about food and reflecting on our own relationship to food.

This course will involve significant experiential dimensions afforded by our travels in France.  Participants will regularly encounter and reflect upon the differences in French attitudes and practices with respect to food and gain an appreciation for how these attitudes and practices arise from traditions surrounding food.


Class Requirements:  Program participants are expected to complete all required readings, participate in all excursions, and engage in French culture as much as possible during the three weeks (no visits to McDonalds or other American food establishments).  A journal must be maintained and submitted weekly to the professors.  Active participation in class discussion is expected.  In addition, two reflection papers will be assigned.  


Paris:  Renowned capital of gastronomy and fine living.  We will explore traditional and ethnic outdoor markets, dine in bistros and cafes specializing in artisanal foods, visit Rungis, the French national center of food distribution, and picnic on the vast lawns near the Eiffel Tower and in the gardens of Versailles.

Provence: What is the Mediterranean diet?  And what makes it so good for you?  Here we will visit olive groves, feast on the regional delicacies, explore vineyards, understand the concept of terroir and meet with local farmers who engage in GMO-free and organic agricultural practices.

Brittany:  Ever wanted to eat and live like a real French person does at home?  Spend a week with a host family who will delight in showing you the best of region.  We will also visit a dairy farm, an agricultural co-op, and a field-to-oven artisanal breadmaker.  Visit Mont St. Michel to experience the world famous pre-sale lamb and galettes.

Knowledge of French is not required, but will be appreciated.  French 101 and 102 are recommended to enhance the experience. 

Estimated Program Costs:

$4,500 above tuition, room, and board.  Costs include round trip airfare from Cleveland, in-country programming, meals and lodging  Personal expenses, passport fees, and independent travel are not included.  

Application Deadline:  October 23, 2015

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For advising and more information, please contact:

  • Jeff Swenson,
    Department Chair and Associate Professor
  • 330.569.5328
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.