Matters of Taste: French Eating Cultures

Subject FREN20013 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1.5 hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours.


French 4 or French 6 or French Language and Culture 1B or French Intermediate Language & Culture B or equivalent.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed 116-218 Matters of Taste: French Eating Cultures or FREN20013/30015 Topics in French Culture II or Matter of Taste French Eating Culture at Level 3 may not enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Dr Henry Mera, Dr Tess Do


Dr Tess Do:

Dr Henry Mera:

Subject Overview:

In France since the 19th century, the preparation, serving and consumption of food, in both the domestic and public space, has been emblematic of French bourgeois cultural hegemony. In this subject students will examine the elaboration of normative codes relating to food and wine and the emergence of gastronomy as an expression of cultural dominance and identity. Students will also study challenges to bourgeois cuisine and gastronomy as have been experienced since at least the mid-20th century, resulting primarily from the colonial history of France and its current multi-cultural situation. Students will engage with a wide variety of discursive practices including treatises on taste and gastronomy, recipe books, restaurant critiques, works of fiction and contemporary film.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this subject, students will:

  • Have gained an appreciation of academic French through the confident use of sophisticated oral and written French at level B2/C1 of the Common European Framework for Languages;
  • Have gained an overview of the development of the French culinary tradition from the Middle-Age to the present, and an appreciation of the different factors leading to the emergence of the concepts of taste, terroir and French cuisine in 19th century;
  • Be able to understand the impact left by the French colonisation of other countries, such as Algeria and Indochina, on the cooking and eating habits of the indigenous peoples, and how the migration of these peoples to France during and after the colonial period has contributed to the shaping of today's French cuisine;
  • Be able to draw from, and reflect upon, one's own food experiences to gain an understanding of the major role of food as a marker of cultural and national identity, as well as the site of cultural resistance in the context of immigration and globalisation;
  • Be able to interpret and give a critical analysis of French literary texts, recipe books, films, documentaries, and other media related to the topic of food and French gastronomy;
  • Have gained the confidence and competence in conducting small research projects, either independently or collaboratively, in the field of French Studies;
  • Be able to employ learning and research technologies in French and English.
  • 2 research projects or one project and a 10 minute oral presentation equivalent to 1500 words during semester [40%]
  • 1 written test equivalent to 500 words during semester [15%]
  • 1 reading comprehension test equivalent to 500 words [15%]
  • A 1500 word final essay due during the examination period [30%]

This subject has the following hurdle requirements:

  • Regular participation in tutorials is required with a minimum of 75% attendance.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day and in-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Materials will be provided by the department at the beginning of semester and will be available on the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Research: through frequent and systematic use of the library and other information sources, the definition of areas of inquiry and familiarisation with research methods.

  • Critical thinking and analysis: through required and recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by assessing the strength of arguments.

  • Thinking in theoretical and analytical terms: through lectures, tutorial discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences.

  • Understanding of social, political, historical and cultural contexts and international awareness/openness to the world: through the contextualisation of judgements and knowledge, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and new aspects of French and Italian cultura, and by formulating arguments.

  • Communicating knowledge intelligbily and economically: through essay and assignment writing, tutorial discussion and class presentations.

  • Time management and planning: through managing and organising workloads for required and recommended reading, essay and assignment completion and revision for examinations.


The subject is taught and assessed in French.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: French

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