Call For Paper (Conference): Food Cultures, Mobility and Migration

Serena Rivera's picture

The conference Food Cultures, Mobility and Migration will take place in New Bedford, Massachusetts on 15th and 16th September 2017 .

This conference forms part of the project Pão e Vinho sobre a Mesa: Portuguese Food Cultures, Mobility and Migration.

It is organised by the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives and Cardiff University School of Modern Languages, and supported by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.


As societies and the goods that they produce become increasingly mobile, and as time and money for leisure activity become more readily available in European and American societies, food has become not just a reflection of the geographical and cultural context in which it is produced, prepared and consumed, but a marker of identity in and of itself. In a transnational world, where people move across cultures with greater ease and frequency, the relationship between food, culture and translation comes to the fore; yet this relationship remains under-researched. Food security and food politics are at the root of many decisions taken by individuals, communities, businesses and states, but the presence of food in histories of political events is often overlooked. For mobile people, food may be a marker of separation or a bridge to other cultures. Food security may have impelled migration, while food practices contain knowledge and memory. 

This conference seeks to explore food cultures and practices in contexts of mobility and migration. To what extent does the materiality of food enable us to trace the histories of daily life for specific communities and groups? How can we record and archive food experiences? In what ways does food mark culture? 

We invite proposals for papers of 15 minutes relating to the following broad themes: 

  •  food production and globalisation

  •   food spaces and businesses

  •   food practices in migrant or refugee communities

  •   recipes, dishes and ingredients as cultural markers 

  •  “ethnic” food and “mainstream” cultures

  •   gustatory experience, emotions and memory 

  •  cultural food tales

  •   food, identity and ethnography 

  •  food security and food deserts 

  •  methodological approaches to the study of food cultures

  •   archiving food, recording taste and smell 

The conference will include a number of food experiences. The language of the conference is English. Creative approaches to presentations are welcome. Please send your proposal of no more than 250 words to by 31 May 2017. Please include your name and academic or other professional affiliation.