Thursday, June 26, 2008


Tasting Histories

Tasting Histories: Food and Drink Cultures through the Ages
Research Symposium, Graduate Workshop and Public Conference

Robert Mondavi Institute, University of California, Davis
February 28-March 1, 2009

To celebrate the October 2008 opening of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science during the 2008-09 Centennial Anniversary of the University of California, Davis, the UC Davis Humanities Institute in collaboration with the UC Multi-Campus Research Program in World History and UC Multi-Campus Research Group in Studies of Food and Body will convene a research symposium, graduate workshop and public conference examining the history of food and drink cultures in international comparative perspective. We are interested in receiving papers that explore critical issues in food and drink production and consumption and deploy a world-historical lens.

Topics could range from the science and technology of agricultural production; to the spread, relocation and domestication of animal and plant life central to human settlements; the proliferation and diversity of indigenous gastronomical cultural practices and knowledge; the development of labor systems tied to specific foodstuffs; narratives of the relationship between nutrition and the environment; food production and social activism; politics and policies pertaining to agriculture, food science, nutrition and the global economy; and local, regional and global food systems.

Our meeting will consist of five panels of pre-circulated research papers by new and established scholars in the field, including two graduate student panels sponsored by the editors of Food, Culture and Society and Gastronomica, and a number of plenary events, including public lectures, and cuisine demonstrations. All the events will be hosted in the remarkable new facilities of the Robert Mondavi Institute.

Interested parties should submit a 500 word abstract of their research project by October 1, 2008. Travel, food and accommodation costs for paper presenters will be borne by the conveners. Questions may be directed to Carolyn de la Peña (ctdelapena @ or Benjamin Lawrance (bnl @

UC Davis has a rich history of excellence in the wine and food sciences. For more than 125 years, the University of California has maintained active research and education programs in viticulture, enology and food science. No other academic institution can boast the rare combination of the premier College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, a large agricultural sector renowned for its fine wine and diverse food production, and the uniqueness of California cuisine. We look forward to welcoming you to UC Davis in our centennial year.

Carolyn de la Peña
Davis Humanities Institute

Benjamin N. Lawrance
Department of History

Clare Hasler
Robert Mondavi Institute

Friday, June 13, 2008


Slow Food Nation in SF this Summer

Slow Food Nation is organizing events in SF


--from their website---
Slow Food Nation was founded in 2007 with a mission to organize a national community event that would celebrate the principles of Slow Food. With the unveiling of this site we’re officially entering a new phase of progress, picking up the pace as we fast approach the festivities during our inaugural event on Labor Day weekend.

Slow Food Nation will bridge San Francisco’s uniquely passionate and active food communities—those who live for the taste and beauty of local, seasonal cuisine; and those who advocate for social justice and equal access to healthy, sustainable food.

Slow Food Nation will feature, among other things, a marketplace, abounding with fresh produce, prepared foods and artisanal creations from California producers. In addition to tasting the bounty and buying food to take home, attendees will have the opportunity to meet and speak with farmers and with each other about the growing movement to build a fair and environmentally responsible food system.

Another exciting element of Slow Food Nation is Taste, a grand celebration of good, clean and fair food made by outstanding producers across the nation. Visitors will be able to taste freshly baked bread, hand-crafted cheeses and sustainably produced wines and will learn about the history and bright future of American food. Tickets are on sale now.

The Slow Food Nation office in San Francisco is abuzz with activity as we plan numerous activities, tastings, parties, tours, lectures and workshops. We’ll be hosting a series of exciting programs leading up to Labor Day, including several discussions at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco this summer, and the design and early planting of a huge Victory Garden in Civic Center Plaza, curated by brilliant local artist/activist Amy Franceschini and landscape architect John Bela in collaboration with our partner non-profit Garden for the Environment.

Slow Food Nation is about community, justice, agriculture, health and food systems, while celebrating delicious food and the pleasure of eating. We hope you’ll join us in celebration of the exceptional taste of good, clean and fair food.

We are actively seeking volunteers for all stages of preparation, as well as at the event. If you’d like to volunteer, email us at

Keep an eye on this blog for updates, special features, and interviews with featured farmers and food advocates, and with some of our speakers, including Michael Pollan, Gary Nabhan and Alice Waters. You can read us via RSS. We also have a newsletter if you’d like to get updates and announcements delivered straight to your inbox.

Come to the table!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


CFP: Curried Cultures

We call for papers towards an edited volume tentatively titled Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia.

Globalization makes national boundaries porous, as people, culture, goods, and ideas, move from one part of the world to another. New links are forged between the social structure and economy, between global markets and local governments, and between diverse cultures and peoples. During the process of globalization, the categories of the 'local' and the 'global' which were previously distinct, now become increasingly interwoven and problematized. This volume seeks to explore these changing categories in the globalizing world, by using the production and consumption of food, in and of South Asia as a lens with special emphasis on identity formation and maintenance.

The preparation and consumption of food affects various aspects of identity such as ethnic affiliation, gender constructs, notions of hierarchy, regional, micro regional, caste, and class based affiliations, national identity and so on. Food can be used variously as a signifier of cosmopolitanism, globalism, localism, traditionalism, or nationalism, and this book will discuss these various ideas with specific ethnographic examples located in of South Asia.

We are interested in papers that focus on a number of themes:
. The entry of multi national food corporations into South Asia and the response to these foods
. The rise of a global food industry in South Asia
. South Asian foods and Identity
. The history of South Asian foods and spices, and their globalization through colonization
. The Mughal empire, travel and food
. The British Empire, colonial discourse and food
. South Asian urbanism and street food
. Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants and the politics of the diaspora in the UK, Australia and the Middle East
. Women, food and the family: contemporary ethnographies
. The South Asian diasporic family and the relationship to food, and culture
. Nostalgia, the homeland and identity enacted and performed through food
. Menus, cookbooks and the reading of the diasporic condition
. Micro regional and caste based foods in South Asia and their global faces
. Nepali cuisine with its many variations, rural and urban divides
. Sri Lankan cuisine, travel and the exoticization of south Asian food
. Bangladeshi cuisine, chefs and international food markets
. Pakistani cuisine, specialty restaurants and the Middle East markets
. The popularity of South Asian "curry" in Japan and other Asian countries
. The recent popularity of South Asian foods and their connections (perceived or otherwise) with a medical therapeutic politics of being
. The politics of authenticity and the return to "indigenous" foods
. The emergent agro industry in South Asia and the changing face of urban food
. Urban foods of South Asia and their globalization
. The exoticization of South Asian foods, travel and new forms of representation
. Any other themes of interest

Please email a 500 word abstract to:

Tulasi Srinivas
Assistant professor of Anthropology
Emerson College

The deadline for receiving abstracts is September 30, 2008. The abstracts must contain affiliation details as well as current contact information.

Editors will review the abstracts and authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to contribute to an edited volume by December 1, 2008. Submission date for final drafts is March 1, 2009.

Joint Editors:

Tulasi Srinivas
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Emerson College
Krishnendu Ray
Assistant Professor
Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health
New York University

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Thank you for another great year

CSFC-- Thanks to all participants for another great year. We are in the process of planning for next year's events... which we hope will include more speakers, and more workshops. There will probably be less funds available next year, but we do hope to make the best of it. Since CSFC is basically a volunteer organization, we would like to especially thank those who have made last year's programs possible.

In the coming year, we will be looking for UC Davis faculty, graduates and undergraduates who would like to take part in organizing our presentations. If you are interested. Please contact, David Michalski and he can give you a better idea of the kind of help we are looking for.

Thanks Again,

Critical Studies in Food and Culture

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