nl en

Food, language and culture in Russia and Eurasia.


Admission requirements

Open to all students from the MA programme Russian and Eurasian Studies. Students from other MA programmes require a Russian language reading level of at least B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, see CEFR


This course revolves around the interdisciplinary field of Food Studies: the critical examination of food and its contexts. We will focus on the food culture and food history, including the language of food, in Russia and the post-Soviet states in the East Slavic world, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It is not just about eating habits, food traditions and culinary practices. We will also look at drinks, ranging from vodka and chacha to kvas and kombucha. Furthermore, we will examine a number of cultural phenomena that are closely linked to eating and drinking habits: the minifarms at the dacha; the Georgian supra (feast) and the role of the tamada; religion (whether orthodox or Islam), which largely determines when you eat what; etc. Special attention is paid to the interconnectedness of regional cuisines due to a shared past of the countries concerned and the phenomenon of culinary appropriation. For our research we use historical documents (including cookbooks from the early modern period) and contemporary sources in the form of food magazines, podcasts, and, of course, recipes.

Course objectives

Knowledge and insight:

  • This course provides students in-depth knowledge of the food culture and food history, including the language of food, in Russia and Eurasia. They will learn that food is a crucial part of cultural heritage and national identity and, in addition, become aware of the oneness and the otherness of the regional cuisines of the countries that were once part of the former Soviet Union.

  • Independent research

  • Critical reading

  • Writing

  • Presentation


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • In-class participation and weekly preparations

  • Oral presentation

  • Written assignment

  • Final paper (5000 words)


  • In-class participation and weekly preparations: 20%

  • Oral presentation: 15%

  • Written assignment: 15%

  • Final paper (5000 words): 50%

Late submissions without prior agreement for extenuating circumstances will be penalised.
Students pass the course if their weighted average is 5.50 or higher and the grade for the final paper is at least 5.50.


Only the final paper can be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The readings will be listed in the course outline which will be made available on Brightspace.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats


Not applicable.