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Oxford Food Symposium

Oxford, UK

We will be attending the Oxford Food Symposium from July 12-14 this year!

In 2019, Symposiasts can look forward to more than 40 papers addressing expressions of power in and through food. If what we prepare, cook and eat has the power to define our place in society, it also has the ability to communicates provenance, ethnicity, religion, ideology, and aspirations. Respect for culinary habit and farming traditions can be employed to encourage respectful tourism, reinforce national pride, and preserve regional diversity, thereby diluting the effect of industrialization of farming and the globalization of the food-supply. But perhaps most importantly, food – the cooking and serving of a meal – has the power to connect family and society, to tell a story of strangers or enemies coming together, to change mood, trigger memories, create emotions, touch the heart and, most powerfully of all, to express love.

We anticipate papers on topics as diverse as performative eating (or fasting), such as a medieval feast, a wedding banquet, a chi-chi restaurant meal, a traditional holiday meal, a religious observance, or a hunger strike; authoritative voices, whether cookbook authors, medical and dietary experts, food critics, mass media personalities, and social media influencers, starvation or hunger as a weapon of war or to control public dissent, and its opposite, “bread and circuses” used as a tool of political and social control; inequalities in food access, whether between social groups, regions, or nations, and the value of food aid, food banks, and subsidies; (in)justice and barriers in markets, including free trade and fair trade issues.