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CFP: Insatiable Appetite: Food as a Cultural Signifier

Friday, June 26, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Hannah Davis
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Call for Papers for a conference of the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA)

American University of Beirut, 12-14 May 2016

Referring to Early Modern European banquet culture, Mikhail Bakhtin described the act of eating as an "interaction with the world.” In a different sense, this interpretation of food and eating is of particular salience in present times. As the world’s population increases disproportionately to the natural resources on the globe, exacerbated by patterns of consumption in affluent countries, media and scholars alike have discovered food and foodways as topics of crucial importance. Like no other item of daily life, food intimately connects the world’s population to the process of globalization – a process that, as shown by the very same example, was by no means a recent development. Particularly Europe and the Mediterranean have been connected by alimentary exchange since antiquity. Yet while food serves to build bridges, it is also a potent marker of social, religious, gendered, political, and ethnic differences. This conference aims at exploring the cultural as well as scientific ramifications of food and foodways in Europe and the Mediterranean in a longue durée and interdisciplinary perspective.

We are especially interested in papers addressing one or more of the following topics:

  • food and/as pleasure

  • abstention, (de)privation, and hunger

  • food and spirituality

  • (religious) policies of food

  • food and ethics

  • food and social standing

  • food and gender

  • food as a cultural heritage

We are expecting about 21 participants, a third of whom will be scholars local to Beirut.

We as members of AGYA accept abstracts from the humanities, social sciences, medicine, and natural sciences related to Europe and the Middle East. Please send your abstract to the organizers, Kirill Dmitriev (, Julia Hauser ( and Bilal Orfali ( before July 31, 2015. Selected participants will be invited to a conference in Beirut in May 2016. A publication is planned. In case of further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact the organizers.

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