Eat, Drink & Be Merry? The Politics of Food & Drink: Political Economy

Marian J. Barber's picture
November 1, 2022
Texas, United States
Subject Fields: 
British History / Studies, Business History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Economic History / Studies, Political History / Studies

Please join the British, Irish and Empire Studies Program at the University of Texas at Austin for "Political Economy," the next session in our virtual speaker series "Eat, Drink and Be Merry? The Politics of Food and Drink." We will convene at noon CDT, 5 p.m. GMT on Tuesday, November 1, to hear scholars Yasmin Ibrahim of Queen Mary, University of London, and Sébastien Rioux of the Université de Montréal. Ibrahim's topic is "Empire, Consumption and the Colonies," while Rioux will speak on "Food Distribution in Victorian and Edwardian Britain."

Registration is required. Please use this link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

UK registrants: Please note the unusual start time (for us) of 5 p.m. (The U.S. goes to standard time a week later than Britain.)

The speakers offer more on their topics:

Rioux: I will talk about the growing importance of food distribution during Victorian and Edwardian eras. Producing cheap food during this period was very much tied to the development of both labour- and capital-intensive methods in the distributive sector.

Ibrahim: The Empire Marketing Board (1927-1933) and its public relations posters promoting food and produce from the British colonies lobbying under the banner of ‘Buy Empire Goods’ sought to project and visualize its colonial relationship through the familiar narratives of food and consumption in the home front. Promoting idealized scenes of domestic everyday life set against the industry of alien bodies in the colonies, these posters sought to promote patriotic consumption visualizing the relations with the colonies as harmonious and generative, adducing an aesthetic of the colonies as bound with the intimacies of everyday life and sustenance through consumption. These posters in effect represented interlocking geographies of economic anxieties, movements against colonisation and the social and political turbulence across the empire beyond the dominant readings of class and race. The ordaining of hierarchies through ‘those who produce and labour, for those who consume invariably invoked the ideological and material patterning of human relations and humanity in the empire.

Questions? Contact BIES staff at


Contact Info: 

Marian J. Barber, PhD, Assistant to the Director, British, Irish and Empire Studies, The University of Texas at Austin