Dr. Julia Carnine, Dickinson en France

French and Francophone Studies (FFS), Language, Field and Foodways

I was able to use the rich resources and activities offered in the Valley and Ridge Faculty development workshop 2019 to create and finalize a summer program abroad in Toulouse France. In previous years my colleague Lucile Duperron had created a course subsequent to her participation in the Valley and Ridge workshop, her course centered on field work (observations, activites and trips) in Toulouse on the theme of sustainable development as it is defined and played out in Toulouse, France. Her course became a nice basis from which to build on to re-direct towards a Food studies focus.

The course developed was; FR 220 Language Field and Foodways and it was offered directly after the workshop during June of 2019. So although many pieces were underway,the  workshop offered me a qualitative major shift in my thinking about the course. I saw that culture and foodways are intrinsically connected to sustainability questions and that this a compelling way to understand that food is not simply about pleasure and tradition. This workshop helped me to broaden my definition of what can be examined under the sustainability umbrella.

Specifically, students benefitted from important insights on local sustainable practices such as examining local markets for the Orientation activity; instead of using this simply as a language practice or a cultural phenomenon, we also looked into the provenance of the goods, the choices regarding foods in season, growing practices and overall pricing availability. In written homestay reflections which were initially geared to focus on cultural insights alone,

questions about sustainable practices on the level of daily water and electricity use were also gaged. In fact, this is a clear example of how France explicitly uses these natural resources in ways that North Americans consider very frugal. It allowed us to broaden our frame with visits to local water treatment plant as well as a garbage collection facility that uses innovative ways to recycle waste into energy.