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Call for papers - Devouring: food, drink and the written word, 1800-1945

Conference Saturday 8 March 2014 at Warwick

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor Nicola Humble (University of Roehampton)
  • Dr Margaret Beetham (University of Salford)

This one day interdisciplinary conference will explore the place of food, drink and acts of consumption within the textual culture of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The years 1800-1945 are marked by food adulteration scandals, the growth of the temperance movement, and significant reforms in the regulation and legislation of food standards, as well as the influence of the colonies on British cuisine and a relationship with food and drink made increasingly complex by wartime paucity and rationing.

These changes are both precipitated and responded to in a vast array of textual forms, including periodicals, the press, recipe books, household management manuals, propaganda, literature and poetry. This conference will therefore engage with the intersections of food/drink cultures and the written word.


Call for papers

We are seeking papers which explore how food and drink were written, experienced and imagined during the period: as a commodity, a luxury item, a source of poison or nutrition, in its abundance or in short supply.

We hope to attract all researchers who have an interest in the culinary cultures of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including those working in the histories of medicine, art and food, as well as anthropologists, historians of the nineteenth century and war years, and those working in literary studies.

By bringing together scholars from many disciplines, we hope to provide a space in which to open up dialogue about nineteenth and early twentieth century narratives of eating, drinking, consuming, and their worth, and to provide a timely examination of our relationship with food and drink at a moment when economic and ecological pressures herald a re-appropriation of the values of wartime thrift and Victorian domestic economy.

Possible topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Representations of food and drink in specific texts and their wider implications.
  • Cultures of eating, drinking and cooking.
  • Social histories of food and drink.
  • The uses of food and drink in the articulation (or challenging) of community, nation or empire.
  • Food or drink as metaphor/trope/structural device.
  • The relationship(s) between reading and eating or drinking.
  • The role of food and drink in cultural constructions of domestic space.
  • Perspectives from ‘fat studies’/‘fat feminism’.
  • Gendered practices of food and drink consumption.
  • Food and drink in medical/psychiatric discourse: alcoholism, eating disorders, compulsive behaviour.
  • The cultural legacies and/or persistence of Victorian and early twentieth century cultural imaging of food and drink.
  • Recipe books, household management manuals and aspirational food.
  • The narrating of gluttony or hunger.
  • Textual representations of farms, breweries, pubs and restaurants.

Applicants should note that papers may also be considered for inclusion in a possible publication resulting from the conference.

Deadline 31 October 2013

Abstracts of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a brief biographical note of no more than 100 words, should be sent to devouring2014 at gmail dot com by 31 October 2013.

This conference is being organised by Warwick's Mary Addyman, Laura Wood and Christopher Yiannitsaros.

More information is available from the conference blog.