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Sugar: a substance of kinship and relatedness?

Hybrid event led by Imogen Bevan (Social Anthropology, Edinburgh) on Wednesday 8 June 2022

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Sugar is viewed by the World Health Organisation as a dangerous substance, one at the heart of a contemporary global nutrition crisis. Parents in Britain are under increasing pressure to reduce their children’s sugar consumption, in order to produce health and protect their kin from future chronic disease and dental decay. Against this backdrop of widespread messages about sugar’s deleterious effects on health, this paper asked: What is the role of sugar in creating and maintaining kinship ties and relationality? Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in primary schools and families’ homes in an Edinburgh neighbourhood, Imogen Bevan explored the moral ambivalence towards sugar that permeates people’s consumption practices.

Further details here
food, Scotland, webinar




As part of the university's 'Resonate Festival' to mark Coventry City of Culture, we led on a series of events, videos and research features between November 2021 and April 2022 - these included:

  • A 'Food & Drink Extravaganza' at the Resonate Campus Festival (video impressions), featuring a Roman Activity Day, FEAST Dinner Party and 'Rethinking Hospitality' panel debate (Wed 20 April 2022, Faculty of Arts Building)
  • A Beer Festival & Feast Food Fair in association with Berkswell Church & Warwick's My-Parish research network - building on medieval 'church ales', St John the Baptist hosted a weekend of delicacies & reflections on the relationship between food and community (25-26 March 2022 - documentation here)
  • A 'Feast Food Festival' in partnership with the region's hospitality sector and artisans - showcasing the history, preparation and meanings of dishes and beverages used for celebrations by different cultures in Coventry and Warwickshire (November - December 2021)

For full details please visit our 'Feast' website.

celebration, drink, food, history


History Group Logo

Food and Drink History Reading Group

This reading group is organised and run by postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the History Department at Warwick. One session is held each month during term time. Each session is lead by a different member of the group, discussing important texts about the history of food. We welcome students and scholars from different disciplines to join in our discussions.

NEXT SOCIAL SESSION: Monday 4 July 2022 in FAB 6.04 (contact


  • Wed 8 June 2022, 4-6 pm (FAB 6.02): Imogen Bevan (Edinburgh) introduced Janet Carter, 'Feeding, Personhood, and Relatedness among Malays' (1995)

  • University-wide discussion of John Hayes' 'Influence of Sensation and Liking' (24 November 2021).
  • Warwick Food History Conference 2021 (17-18 June 2021): '"You Are What You Eat": Food and Identity From The Middle Ages to the Modern', featured 23 papers on a wide range of issues and a keynote by Jeffrey Pilcher on Pilsner beer - for further information go to the conference website.
conference, food, history


Food on the Move Logo

Friday 9 July 2021, 5-7 pm

This 'Food Cultures' public online event - co-organized by food scholars Eleanor Barnett, Beat Kümin & Katrina Moseley - brought together academics, industry representatives, and members of the general public to discuss the ways in which fast-moving food chains have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since we spent the best part of a year in our homes, the demand for ‘click-to-buy’ food delivery services has never been greater. We are only starting to think about the huge impact of this behavioural change on the food industry, society and culture more broadly.

The virtual meeting consisted of academic talks and a panel discussion, with members of the general public invited to reflect on their food experiences with reference to the theme of ‘food on the move’, both in an online survey and during the discussion itself - Event Programme.

We are planning a 2022 follow-up event to assess the longer-term repercussions of the pandemic on our food & drink habits.

conference, delivery, food, pandemic, webinar


Food, Religion & Communities Hot Cross Buns

'Food, Religion and Writing'

Friday 11 June 2021

A 'Food Cultures'-sponsored virtual examination of the relations between faith and food studies, co-organized by José-Ricardo Aguilar González & Beat Kümin with participants from across the university & beyond.

PART I involved a reading group discussion of extracts from Food, Religion and Communities in Early Modern Europe (2019) with author Christopher Kissane [flyerLink opens in a new window]. Warwick users can revisit the session on MS Stream.

PART II saw a public debate with Mark Bratton (rector of St John the Baptist church, Berkswell), Giulia Champion (IAS-IATL), Elizabeth Dowler (Warwick Emeritus Professor & member of the Food Ethics Council) & Christopher Kissane (historian & writer) [flyerLink opens in a new window]. The video recording is now freely available on the University's YouTube channel.

Pics: Bloomsbury & Cjorsch 2010

conference, food, history, religion, writing


A webinar with Susan Flavin (Trinity College, Dublin), Allen J. Grieco (Villa I Tatti, Florence) & Peter Scholliers (VUB, Brussels), moderated by Beat Kümin (Warwick)
23 March 2021

What are the continuities and changes in production, distribution and consumption since the Middle Ages? When did processes like urbanization, industrialization and globalization start to affect people's diets? Where are food and drink studies today? These are some of the issues explored in this panel discussion involving three leading voices with complementary expertise. The video recording is now accessible on YouTube.

Banner: extract from Willem Claesz. Heda, ‘Still Life with a Gilt Cup’ (1635). Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

drink, food, webinar