12 students from the Faculty of History of the University of Bucharest took part, between November 2020 and February 2021, in the „Food in History 1400-2000” short-programme, organized within CIVIS.
The course is one of the pilot-projects developed within CIVIS in order to enhance interactive and integrated programmes and experiences, but also to harmonize national regulations, study programmes, teaching methods and evaluation systems and procedures. The course brought together 40 students from the University of Tübingen, 12 students from the University of Bucharest, two students from the Autonomous University of Madrid and two students from the Sapienza University of Rome.
The coordinator of the program from behalf of the University of Bucharest was, during the entire interval, prof. Mirela Murgescu, director of The Romanian and South-Eastern European History Department and professor of several courses of popular culture.
The initiators and coordinators of this CIVIS programme were prof. Christina Brauner and prof. Daniel Menning, from the University of Tübingen, which saw the online academic shift as an opportunity to engage in interaction with a number of foreign students, invited to virtually join the University of Tübingen activities.
The UB Innovation within The Food in History programme
Prof. Mirela Murgescu, UB coordinator of the short study programme, underlined that the course was not intended as a history of alimentation and food, but rather as a manner to discuss and reveal the implications of alimentation and food upon societies, behaviours, relations, identities, as well as the relevance of the historical study of alimentation for today’s world, confronted with starvation, alimentation crisis and obesity.
The programme included a set of lectures regarding diverse topics, which were available on the University of Tübingen platform during the entire interval so that the students could return to them as often as they felt the need to clarify certain aspects or to deepen the approached topics. The lectures were carried out primarily by prof. Christina Brauner and prof. Daniel Menning, but also by teachers from other universities.
The lectures were accompanied by an online forum – an interactive virtual space that gave the students the possibility to debate and to formulate questions about the discussed topics and other related issues.
In addition, the 12 participants from the University of Bucharest, all bachelor students in the final year of study at the Faculty of History, had the opportunity to take part in interactive, innovative and applicative workshops about the thematic of the lectures and other related issues, held weekly by prof. Mirela Murgescu.
As such, during these practical seminars, the students engaged in innovative activities. For example, the lecture concerning alimentation and identity and the manner in which food places us in a certain identity area, no matter if it is a religious one, an ethnic one, a gender-determined one, a national one or of another type, was connected with the Day of 1st of December, Romania’s National Day, and with the matter of constructing a Romanian traditional menu. During these workshops, more precisely in December, the students created an Advent calendar containing, for each day, either an academic text, either a video clip, either a movie recommendation, all related with food topics.
Mini-documentaries and opinion surveys about culinary habits for evaluation
For their evaluation, the twelve History students from the University of Bucharest, divided into three teams, have to make a 15 minutes video clip on a theme inspired by the Food in History short programme. In fulfilling their task, the future historians have the possibility to choose both the content and the sources, with the only condition of respecting the citation rigours.
In the same time, prof. Mirela Murgescu and the participant students proposed a questionnaire-based survey “About the culture of „mic” or „mititei” in Romania”, realized with scientific research purpose.
The short programme was organized by the University of Tübingen in partnership with the University of Bucharest, Aix-Marseille Université, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Sapienza Università di Roma and Stockholm University.
The Civic European University CIVIS is an academic alliance of nine of the most important universities in Europe: Aix-Marseille Université, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, University of Bucharest, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Sapienza Università di Roma, Stockholm University, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and the University of Glasgow, as associated partner. CIVIS brings together a community of approximately 450.000 students and 65.000 staff members, from which over 30.000 teaching staff and researchers.