Wednesday, January 18, 2017

International Conference on Food Culture, May 27-28


Type: Conference
Date: May 27, 2017 to May 28, 2017
Location: United Kingdom
Subject Fields: Health and Health Care, Public Policy, Cultural History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations

Food is something we all consumer every day; however, food is more than that. Food is also a sign of distinctive culture and religious observance, as well as sign of a lifestyle and cultural identity. For example, kosher food for religious Jews or halal food for religious Muslims represents a sign of their religiosity and religious identity. In addition, food is cultural for different countries eat different food and food has thus become a part of cultural diplomacy. Therefore, in more multicultural societies of the West Chinese, Indian, Pakistani and other world foods became part of everyday lives of the people who may not know much about the country the food is coming from nor they have ever visited that country, but they do like the food and thus learn about the country and its customs.

Many countries also use food for their tourist promotion. For example, Austria is heavily advertising cakes and chocolate which is what the country is famous for (among other things). On the other hand, Greece advertises food as part of Greek culture stating that Greeks like to cook and eat, and will be happy to share recipes because they know food can never feel and taste the same outside of Greece and its distinctive local culture.

Popular culture representation of food became a debated issue because scholars are now asking how media portray food. We often see actors eating takeaway food in TV shows and movies, and the question arose whether popular culture promotes unhealthy living. This question became even more pertinent as obesity gained a momentum in countries such as UK and the US where measures are being taken to decrease sugary intake and remove fast food from schools. Other countries are also expressing concerns over growing obesity issue and unhealthy lifestyle people lead.

Nevertheless, food is also a political issue as the food industry is often criticised for numerous reasons, i.e. profit-driven policies that violate rights of workers and animals and also bring to immigration concerns. For example, many of illegal immigrants in the US work in the food and agriculture industry and this decreased wages for US citizens who used to work in these industries. As a result, many Americans developed anti-immigration sentiments. Governments are also accused of collaborating with corporations and not bringing enough policy change to legalize food industry. According to some data, minorities and poor are particularly prone to diabetes and other diseases that come as a result of food choices because they cannot always afford organic food, but there is no policy change to regulate the industry so that organic food becomes more affordable and to make people aware to demand organic food more.

Many books have been written on these matters and many documentaries are nowadays available on the issue. Choices we make about food define us in many ways, i.e. our healthiness, purchase power, level of knowledge on the food, our identity, our religiosity, and these dietary choices tell a lot about decisions we make each day and where these choices and decisions are coming from.

Papers are invited, but not limited to, for the following panels,
Food and Culture: From East to West
Food and Religion
Food and popular culture
Obesity and the sugar debate
Fast food and the education system
Measures against unhealthy food
Food and Identity
Food as part of culture
Food and cultural diplomacy
Food and tourism
Post-colonial and multicultural perspectives on food
Activism against the food industry
Policy: laws, regulations and change
Minorities and food
Religious food
Nutrition and the health system: policies, regulations and impact on state budgets.

Prospective participants are also welcome to submit proposals for their own panels. Both researchers and practitioners are welcome to submit paper proposals. A special journal publication is planned after this conference.

Submissions of abstracts (up to 500 words) with an email contact should be sent to Dr Martina Topić (martina@socialsciencesandhumanities.com) by 15 February 2017 to martina@socialsciencesandhumanities.com or abstracts can be submitted via conference website.

Conference fee is £240 (£180 for students), and the fee includes,
  • The registration fee
  • Conference bag and folder with materials
  • Access to the newsletter, and electronic editions of the Centre
  • Opportunity for participating in future activities of the Centre (research & co-editing volumes)
  • Meals and drinks for both days of the conference
  • WLAN during the conference
  • Certificate of attendance
Centre for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences is a private institution originally founded in December 2013 in Croatia (EU). Since July 2016 the Centre is registered in Leeds, UK.

Participants are responsible for finding funding to cover transportation and accommodation costs during the whole period of the conference. This applies to both presenting and non-presenting participants. The Centre will not discriminate based on the origin and/or methodological/paradigmatic approach of prospective conference participants.

Information for non-EU participants: The Centre will issue Visa letter to participants with UK entry clearance requirement. The British Home Office has a very straightforward procedure, which is not excessively lengthy and the Centre will also issue early decisions to participants with Visa requirements. The Centre will only issue invitation letters to presenting participants.

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