20thCambridge Heritage Symposium
Cooking Identities & Tasting Memories: The heritage of food
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
University of Cambridge
10-11 May 2019
In addition to its necessity for life, food serves as an unparalleled means through which to study the formation of identity within and between sociocultural groups. The embodied practices associated with cooking and the effect of taste as both a deeply individual and social experience bind groups together through space and time. This conference, by extension, aims to explore the role of tangible ingredients and foodstuffs and/or intangible foodways—defined as the cultural, social, and economic processes involved in the production and consumption of food—as cultural heritage at the individual, group and global levels.
Food and foodways transcend cultural and religious barriers, since trade throughout time has made many ingredients accessible to all. Further, the movement of foodstuffs and dishes has long been accompanied with the movement of people; urban centres are filled with restaurants of world cuisines, and food therefore often serves as one’s first glimpse into a foreign culture. Exploring and challenging how food is or becomes heritage and how, in turn, this shapes identities or cultural practices provides an avenue to appreciate difference while also demonstrating how all facets of food—its ingredients, preparation, and its consumption—can be unifying within and between cultures. The conference will be divided into three themes: Identity, the heritagisation of food, and ceremony.
Some of the key questions we seek to address include:
- How are the use of ingredients and the development of food practices determined at the intercultural and intracultural levels? How do parameters such as gender, class, geography, and religion determine food practices within and between cultures?
- How do phenomena external to cultural practice including colonialism, armed conflict, migration, cultural/religious oppression, and climate change enable, limit and determine the use of ingredients, dishes and the development of foodways within a culture?
Heritagisation of food:
- In a globalised world, can food and foodways be considered to have one “authentic” origin, granting it protected status in that place? How has the notion of place in the preservation of the tangible and intangible heritage associated with food been used or fallen into disuse?
- How does heritage come to intersect with local food movements in efforts for more sustainable eating habits?
- How do daily, religious, and/or secular rituals become imbued through food practices? Who is responsible for the performance of food practices in the context of ceremony? How do such practices become heritagised?
Papers on other topics relating to food as heritage are also very welcome. The conference will be interdisciplinary and seeks papers from disciplines including, but not limited to, Anthropology, Archaeology, Asian Studies, Economics, Environmental Studies, Ethnology, Food Studies, Geography, Heritage Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature, Middle Eastern Studies, Museum Studies, Political Sciences, Religious Studies and Sociology.
Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by 27 January 2019 to Rebecca Haboucha (firstname.lastname@example.org)