Food Study Field Study in Berlin

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Berlin, Germany

Date: Arrival Date: June 21, 2020 End Date: July 24, 2020

Program Overview

The Food Study Field Study in Berlin will bring food, European history and politics, and the study of state socialism/postsocialism together by offering students two courses – Anthropology of Food (ANTH 161S) and Ethnography of Russia and Eastern Europe (ANTH 130S). By integrating these two courses – one topical and one regional – students will receive rigorous training in the key theoretical debates and ethnographic studies in both the anthropology of food and the anthropology of state socialism/postsocialism, as well as hands-on experience with ethnographic research methods. 

Berlin is both a vibrant, exciting, multicultural global metropolis, and a city that has endured multiple identity crises. Not only has it been at the center of the post-World War II creation and dissolution of the socialist bloc, but it is also at the nexus of numerous Soviet, European, and now European Union political, economic, and social movements. Berlin is a place where multiple histories coexist and can be experienced, sometimes uneasily and in contradiction to one another, and where local residents have long been deeply engaged with all kinds of social justice movements. At the same time, Berlin’s state socialist history makes it an important space for studying such key topics in food studies as consumer choice, the political dimensions of food, nationalist consumption practices, food shortages and food aid, summer gardens, food justice movements, and the civic dimensions of food practices.

Ultimately, these and many more features make Berlin an exceptional space to pursue an experience-based ethnographic field study.

This program is limited capacity.

Max Enrollment: 25

Language of Instruction: English

Study Abroad Program Coordinator: Ashley Bayman

Faculty Leader: Professor Lissa Caldwell and Ph.D. Student April Reiber


  • ANTH 161S (Anthropology of Food)- 5 units
  • ANTH 130S (Ethnography of Russia and Eastern Europe)- 5 units

Students can satisfy two upper-division courses that count toward the requirements for the UCSC anthropology major and minor and satisfy two GenEd requirements: ANTH 130S- Cross Cultural Analysis (CC); ANTH 161S- Perspectives: Human Behavior (PE-H).

Program Highlights

  • Live in Berlin, one of the world's most vibrant and exciting cities. 
  • Experience a very particular and unique social history in action by living, studying, witnessing, and conducting research in a city in which past, present, and future intersect in multiple ways and at multiple scales.
  • Go on a day trip to Leipzig, a major East German city outside Berlin. Leipzig is historically important not just for its contributions to world music and world religions – Bach, Handel, and Martin Luther, among many others! – but it was also the site for the beginnings of the revolution that led to the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • Explore the Stasi (Secret Police) museum, archives, and prison, DDR museums, the Soviet War Memorial, and many other important historical, cultural, and social landmarks of Berlin including Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall, and the Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Eastern Germany.
  • Take a guided tour to Sachsenhausen, the former concentration camp, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945. 
  • Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the dismantling of Checkpoint Charlie.
  • Participate in a LGBTQ private guided tour of Berlin; right before Berlin Pride!
  • Embark on a day of visits to Berlin’s urban gardens as well as migrant and refugee community organizations.
  • Tour nearby cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg, or Prague during your free weekends!

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