Folger Before 'Farm to Table' project offers graduate workshop in December

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The Folger Institute’s Mellon-funded Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures project is pleased to offer graduate students funding to attend a workshop at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC in December 2019. 

Please circulate this call for applications widely to graduate students with research interests in food and food studies:

Eating through the Archives: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Early Modern Foodways
Fall Graduate Student Workshop

Sponsored by Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, the inaugural project of the Andrew W. Mellon Initiative in Collaborative Research at the Folger Institute

Food permeates every aspect of the early modern world, from the social rituals of the London coffee house to the saltfish eaten by enslaved people in Barbados, from the disappearing banquet in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest to the spare olla of Don Quixote’s rustic table. Food’s omnipresence is both a potential smorgasbord for scholars and an embarrassment of riches, for studying and talking about food is a complex affair that tests the boundaries of traditional disciplines. The program invites up to two dozen graduate students to reconsider the term “foodways” as a framework that maps the convergence of disciplines, including history, literary studies, biology, ecology, philosophy, mathematics, culinary studies, and art history. The Before ‘Farm to Table’ team will lead group discussions as well as focused break-out sessions centered around a core set of primary sources, including our collection of over one hundred early modern English manuscript recipe books—the largest such collection in the world—as well as other texts and images from the Folger collection.

Organizers: This weekend program is organized by four members of the Folger Institute’s Mellon-funded collaborative research project team, Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures. Project co-director David B. Goldstein (Associate Professor of English at York University) publishes on early modern foodways, including Eating and Ethics in Shakespeare’s England, two co-edited essay collections (Culinary Shakespeare and Shakespeare and Hospitality), and two books of poetry. Jack Bouchard (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) is an historian of the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century north Atlantic fisheries, especially Newfoundland. In her research, Elisa Tersigni (Postdoctoral Digital Research Fellow) combines algorithmic analysis and analytical bibliography to study the language and literature of the English Reformation. Michael Walkden (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) explores links between digestion and emotion in early modern medicine and culture. They will be joined by project co-directors Amanda Herbert (Associate Director for Fellowships, Folger Institute) and Heather Wolfe (Curator of Manuscripts and Associate Librarian of Audience Development at the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Schedule: Thursday afternoon through Saturday, 5 – 7 December 2019. An additional, optional night of lodging on Wednesday, 4 December, may be funded for admitted participants upon request. 

Apply: 3 September 2019 for admission and grants-in-aid via this link: Funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation extends eligibility to graduate students regardless of affiliation. Ph.D. candidates will receive priority in admission.

Questions? Please send them to Jonathan MacDonald, Project Coordinator of Before ‘Farm to Table’: jmacdonald[at]