PROGRAMME: 2nd EUI Conference in Visual and Material Culture Studies

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Scandalous Feasts and Holy Meals: Food in Medieval and Early Modern Societies

25-26 May 2021 via Zoom

Organizing committee: Moïra Dato, Ana Struillou, Elisa Chazal, Isabelle Riepe

Image: Diego Velazquez, El almuerzo, 1618-9, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

From medieval Western Europe to the early modern Spanish Americas and Asia, scholarship dealing with foodways and foodstuffs has considerably evolved in the last decades. From the questions of local consumption practices, global flows of commodities to evolving tastes, new studies shed light on the intricate significance of food to early modern societies across the globe. Going beyond the essential character of drinks and foodstuffs for the survival of the human body, food consumption is now also being considered as an economic, social, religious and cultural marker. While the enjoyment of a meal can bring communities together, foodways and foodstuffs are also inherent to strategies of exclusion, resistance and protest. If texts provide precious information, material and visual sources have been increasingly used by historians to inform the study of food-related practices in past societies.     Stretching across a period of 500 years we interrogate means of regulation and performances surrounding food across the globe and the visual and material culture methodologies to study them. What role do political and religious measures play in consumption and supply of foodstuffs? How may visual culture reinforce and capture people’s table manners and perception of sociability in the past? To what extent does the preparation of food and the materiality of food consumption represent power at court and in public celebrations? How does the physical environment in which food is prepared, displayed, sold, and consumed influence knowledge-making and aesthetic perception? What light does the preparation and display of food and eating shed on the relationship between colonisers and colonised? This event will be held via Zoom on 25th and 26th of May. To register please contact Moïra Dato ([email protected])