Call for articles for a special issue of "Genesis. The Journal of the Italian Society of Women Historians" on "Gender and Food. Social Dynamics, cultures, politics", 1/2017

Enrica Asquer's picture
Call for Publications
April 30, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies

Call for papers “Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche” 2017,1


Gender and food. Social dynamics, cultures, politics

Ed. by Enrica Asquer and Paolo Capuzzo


This special issue of “Genesis” ‒ ‒ will explore the gender issues related to the production, circulation, distribution and consumption of food, within different spatial and chronological contexts, from the early modern to the contemporary era. The issue will add to the extensive research that has emerged around this topic in the last decades by adopting a specific gender perspective. Although increasing attention has been given to the gender dimension of food, much remains to be explored.

The production and consumption of food have been so far analysed from many stimulating points of view. Anthropologists have investigated nutritional practices in connection with the symbolic order that permeates societies (M. Douglas) and, in particular, as a crucial point of entry into the daily dynamics of families (M. de Certeau): the division of labour between different family members; the set-up of the domestic areas devoted to the food preparation; the connection between meal consumption and the construction of family routines, are all examples of the issues explored by this kind of analysis.

However, the investigation on food plays a crucial role within the entire domain of social history, providing precious insights into the evolution of social inequalities and cultural diversities: different styles of consumption, as Pierre Bourdieu pointed out, may be a significant evidence of the reproduction of inequalities even within the societies “of abundance”. Moreover, due to its connection with the constant redefinition of the private and the public spheres, the consumption of food sheds light on the rituals of gender and generational identification, situating the historical investigation at the intersection between the production of subjectivity and the public agencies which regulate societies: the State, the educational system, and the media.

A focus on the relationship between food and cultural identities has provided the opportunity to illuminate the political dimension of consumption. Around food have been and are still produced many different narratives, which either exalt processes of cultural hybridisations or claim for a radical recognition of presumed “natural” and stable cultural diversities between nations, civilizations, etc. As a matter of fact, the ritual dimension of food consumption and the circulation of food and cooking practices provide social groups with a crucial mean of belonging, but at the same time erode their material and symbolic basis. As the research on migrations clearly shows, gender, ethnicity, class and religion are altogether useful categories of analysis within this specific field.

Food is also intimately connected with the cultures and the politics of the body. Here, food studies cooperate with the history of science and medicine (but also with the history of religions and the related models of vituosity) in enhancing the study of the production of body norms and models of health, beauty, morality, which are always gendered. This political dimension of nutrition does not pertain only to individuals’ life, but has a crucial collective dimension. From the soup kitchen for the poor in the early modern times to the contemporary school and work canteens, the allocation of food has been at the intersection between public policies and the globalisation of food markets. Once again a gendered perspective is useful in order to highlight the dialectic connection between the norms that regulate social life and the destabilising redefinition of the balance of power within the global market.

This special issue aims at investigating in particular the following topics:

  • Food, family and gender roles, with special reference to the construction of the parental roles (motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood).
  • Food, discipline and body politics: shifting constructions through space and time.
  • State policies on food, with particular reference to war periods; and more generally, the various forms of social control on nutrition practiced by the State, including the role played by the Welfare State in influencing gender roles.
  • Food, cultural, religious and national identities, with particular reference to migrations and exchanges of food and cooking cultures, from the modern age to the contemporary.
  • The construction of gender roles through the process of “mediatisation” of food: from cookbooks to contemporary cooking shows.
  • Politics of food resources and gender asymmetries on a global scale, with references also to radical thinkers and eco-feminist movements which challenge current food production and distribution processes.


Proposals must be sent by e-mail by the 30/4/2016 to the editors Enrica Asquer ( and Paolo Capuzzo ( and should contain an abstract (max 3.000 characters) and a brief scientific profile of the author with a list of her/his publications. Authors whose proposals are selected for possible publication must sent their articles (max 60.000 characters, spaces and footnotes included) by the 26/09/2016. Articles will be submitted to the editorial board’s scrutiny and to a double blind peer review. The publication of the issue is expected for the end of spring 2017.

Articles in Italian, English, French and Spanish will be considered for publication. A language revision by a mother tongue must be guaranteed by authors. 

Contact Info: 

Editors: Enrica Asquer,; Paolo Capuzzo:

Contact Email: