MASTER Historical Sciences SPECIALTY History and culture of food

The Master in histoire et des cultures de l’alimentation (History and Culture of Food) offers students a multidisciplinary course, at the heart of the university’s food study centre, where they acquire detailed knowledge of the societal issues of food as well as advanced practice in the methodologies of humanities and social sciences applied to food culture, from antiquity to the present day. Students will also study the new lines of investigation in European research.
  • Objectives

The studies, such as the research subjects, focus on foodstuffs and tastes as well as on consumption and alimentation, on industrialization and trade, on table models and manners, and on culinary creations. The theoretical classes given in this specialization cover all of the most up-to-date research fields in the history and culture of food, from antiquity to the present day. As such, students learn about the latest facts related to the subject through classes run by top European specialists and through reading matter from the extensive bibliography.

The methodological teaching helps students acquire the bases in history research and the specificities of research in this field: bibliographic research, establishing a body of information, familiarization with various document research tools. The dissertation, which is developed over the two years of the course, under the guidance of a director of research, allows students to apply their knowledge in a practical way by addressing a problem-oriented subject of research and by writing a document that complies with the scientific rules of history research.

The history of food, which is a dynamic and highly-recent field, focuses on interdisciplinarity (history, archaeology, archaeozoology, geography, anthropology, sociology and economics).

Career areas: research or documentation consultants for agri-food groups, gastronomic tourism and media, cultural event organizer in the food field.

  • Contents or models of training

This Master is divided into four semesters, where studies are followed both locally and abroad, i.e. "mobility studies". During their mobility phases, the students from the four different universities study in the same centre. 

First semester: studies in Tours

1-local: methodology on the sources of the history of food, lessons in food anthropology and sociology, training seminar in learning to use oral archives, computing in serial data processing.
2-mobility: classes in the contemporary history of food and archaeozoology, classes on the European cultures of food run by colleagues from the foreign universities, research work on the contemporary documentation of food as part of the training on food and media.

Second semester: classes in Barcelona (January-February-March) and Bologna (April-May-June)

Classes are those given on the corresponding site by local professors

Trasformare: Cucina e gastronomia tra Medioevo ed Eta moderna
Trasformare: Cucina e gastronomia nell’Eta contemporanea
Alimentary identities in Europe
Alimentazione e arti visive
Storia del paysagio agrario
Fuentes y metodologia de la Historia de alimentacion
Geografia della produzione alimentare et antropologia de la
Tiempos y ritmos de la alimentacion Archeologia de la alimentacion

Third semester: classes in Brussels - VUB and ULB (October-November-December)

Classes are those given on the corresponding site by local professors

Food and society in classical antiquity
Food traditions and innovations
European cultures and mentalities in historical and comparative perspectives
History and culture of food
Overall seminar

Fourth semester: studies and traineeships in Tours

1-local studies: during the month of January, students participate in a series of classes on the history of food during the different eras and an additional, first-year class on food archaeozoology and archaeology.
2-students who have not yet completed a traineeship may choose to do one in a professional structure related to food subjects, or they may devote their second semester to research. This choice depends on whether the student wishes to follow a professional or research master. This is the only distinction made in the curriculum.

  • Admission requirements

Proficiency in French, intellectual curiosity, a critical mind, ability to work autonomously and to memorize, interest in reading, ability to work in a group.