Perhaps that’s why the field of food studies is expanding so quickly, with new departments emerging in universities across the United States and internationally. The New School sits at the forefront of this movement, with an undergraduate Food Studies program led by Parasecoli launching this fall. Drawing on a range of disciplines, Food Studies offers courses that explore the connections between food and the environment, politics, history, and culture.
Parasecoli, who hails from Rome, came to food studies randomly,, by his own admission, although he notes that he has always loved to eat, and learned to cook at his mother’s stove. Educated initially in political science and Islamic Studies, Parasecoli began his career as a foreign affairs journalist. He reported from China and the Far and Middle East for Italian, Spanish, French and Mexican publications, and, along the way, discovered new foods.
As I was traveling, I was eating,, he recalls.
In 1992, Parasecoli was enlisted by Italian magazine Gambero Rosso to write about the intersection of politics and food. For the better part of the ’90s, he penned articles for Food and Wine magazine, traveling extensively from Turkey to Cambodia.
As Parasecoli wrote more about food, his field of interest began to shift, so much that in 1998, Gambero Rosso dispatched Parasecoli to New York City to serve as its US correspondent for food and culture. He later taught at NYU’s Food Studies program and earned a doctorate in agriculture from Germany’s Hochenheim Universit√§t.
In light of his unique background, it’s no surprise that Parasecoli has found a home at The New School. Everything here is permeable,, he says. And Parasecoli’s vision for Food Studies takes full advantage of The New School’s interdisciplinary nature: he will lead a program distinguished by an urban approach, with a focus on design, media and environmental studies, and hands-on political engagement.
I like aspects of provocation and getting students to think and talk outside their comfort zones,, says Parasecoli. And food makes for a very good pedagogical tool.,