Dublin Gastronomy Symposium

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Theme Announcement

Dublin Gastronomy Symposium 2018

29-30 May 2018

The DGS Committee is delighted to announce Food and Power as the theme for the 2018 Symposium. Power can be interpreted literally as giving energy, such as with superfoods, or metaphorically. Felipe Fernández-Armesto suggests that in early human class systems, food became a social differentiator: a signifier of class or a measure of rank. Michael Dietler has defined feasting as the communal consumption of food, one which involves the conversion of perishable economic resources into social capital. In other words, feasting is always concerned with what he calls commensal politics: the negotiation of aspects of identity relative to others, such as status, gender, and age. Few feasts occur without some form of beverage, and the DGS Committee envisages food as incorporating beverages. It equally welcomes research on all aspects of food and beverage within the theme of power.

Ostentatious displays at weddings, christenings, or even in diplomatic dining have always been about asserting power. Roy Strong notes that from early times, those anxious to curry regal favour would deliberately send delicacies to tempt the royal palate or the appetites of the powerful guests. Feasting has always involved the manipulation of one group by another for socio-political aims. Food can be a tool of domestic power. Besieging a municipality and cutting off the food supply has long been a powerful weapon of war. Did chefs loose power when their recipes and techniques began to be published? Marion Nestle has been highlighting recent debates of the Obama presidency’s failure to take on the powerful big-food lobby in the United States. Who has the power to decide what a nation eats? The study of gastronomy is uniquely multidisciplinary, and indeed transdisciplinary, encompassing the arts, humanities, and both the natural and social sciences. The DGS organisers invite papers about food and power, including but not limited to the following topics:

  • Status, gender, elite foods and cultural capital
  • Reciprocity and the power of gift-giving
  • Food-supply chains, famine, or ‘food mountains’
  • Anorexia, fat shaming, trolling in social media
  • Gluttony as a symbol of power
  • The power of creating and communicating a ‘food story’
  • The power of food and drink tourism
  • Celebrity chefs and the power of media
  • Power struggle within academia: the battle for food studies to be accepted as a discipline
  • Power relationship between interns or commis chefs and employers
  • Power of food imagery in advertising, film, and literature
  • The power of the food and wine critic in shaping the contemporary food and beverage landscape, and the power of food to excite and give pleasure

Interested parties should send a 250-word abstract to mairtin.macconiomaire@dit.ie by 14 September 2017. If accepted, the submission date for completed papers will be 1 February 2018. The author style sheet is available here.

Please forward this notice to any interested parties.

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