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Food and Drink History Reading Group

Welcome to Food History Reading Group. This reading group is convened by postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the History Department at the University of Warwick. We aim to provide a friendly and inspiring environment to discuss different themes and approaches to food history, and welcome students and scholars from different disciplines to join in our discussion.

Sessions are held once a month at term times. During each session, one group member will convene the session and lead the discussion. Each meeting will be on a different topic, and please do feel free to only join us for the discussions that interest you!

We look forward to seeing you in our next session. Please email this address if you would like to join us and to access the readings: Thank you!


Wednesday 8 June 2022 (week 27),

4-6 pm,

Faculty of Arts Building, 6.02

Led by Imogen Bevan, Research Fellow in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh,

In this university-wide reading group session aimed at all researchers with food-/drink-related interest regardless of discipline, region and period, we will be discussing:

Janet Carsten, ‘The Substance of Kinship and the Heat of the Hearth: Feeding, Personhood, and Relatedness among Malays in Pulau Langkawi’, in: American Ethnologist 22 (2/1995), 223-241

Does eating together make people related? In Janet Carsten’s classic 1995 text, and related book The Heat of the Hearth: The Process of Kinship in a Malay Fishing Community published in 1997, Carsten challenges classic theories of kinship and their foundation in biology. Through her ethnographic work on the island of Langkawi, and her personal experience as a foster daughter in a Malay family in the village, Carsten shows that Malay kinship is not a state but a process. Kinship is continually ‘made’ through everyday practices of living together and eating rice from the same hearth – making it dangerous for children to eat meals in the houses of others. This work is recognised as an important contribution to anthropology, but I suggest it is insightful for food studies scholars at large, since it reveals a new way of looking at food as part of a continuum of bodily substances, with the power to profoundly shape personhood and social relationships. How might these ideas apply to other contexts of research?

Please register your participation via an email to by Friday 3 June 2022 and you will receive a pdf of the article. Refreshments will be served


To see our past events and discussions, please look here. You can also find the programme for our 2021 Conference here.

Credit to Jack Baker@jackhughbaker

Floating grocery

'Floating grocery' ca.1800-1820
/V&A collections

'Morning Coffee' 1739

François Boucher/ Musée du Louvre

Food shop in India. ca.1870s

Kindly supported by Warwick Food GRP