Call for Papers: Of Places and Tastes (Food Conference – Perugia)

RHN 131/2013 | Call

Organiser: The Umbra Institute

5-8 June 2014, Perugia, Italy

Deadline: 17 January 2014

Of Places and Tastes:
Terroir, Locality, and the Negotiation of Gastro-cultural Boundaries

This conference seeks to explore the multifaceted connections between a place and its food, as it is represented, produced or consumed in relation to the identity of people and the spaces they inhabit. One of the debated outcomes of globalization is the increasing importance of locally recognizable food production, and the promotion of the cultural values connected to it. Particularly in the last decades the European Union has increasingly devoted relevant political and economic efforts in defining an articulated system of certification to promote and protect local products and specialties (PDO, PGI, TSG).

On a less institutional level, independent associations, such as Slow Food and volunteer groups or committees linked to particular places or productions, are striving to define and defend typical and traditional food as key elements in the construction of niche markets and in the representation of cultural specificities. From the original French concept of terroir, through other local designations (i.e. the Italian prodotto tipico, the German regionaltypische Spezialität etc.), the underlying connection between locality and quality of food has triggered debates on economic development, sustainability and redefinition of cultural belongings.

We encourage those interested in participating in the conference to submit an abstract for consideration. Topic areas we invite reflection on include:

  • Terroir and locality in food products around the world.
  • The concept of “one’s own food” versus that of “others” to reinforce or challenge individual and collective identity.
  • Terroir as a way of social distinction à la Bourdieu.
  • The formalization of “localness”, how it is negotiated through laws, regulation and procedural guidelines, and the conflicts that arise through this process.
  • The role of journalism, mass-media, cinema and literature in the representation of local food practices and regional, national and transnational identities.
  • Promotion of local food and culinary practices in the tourism industry.
  • The relation between local food and agricultural policies, transnational markets and industrial strategies.
  • The link between local food, socio-political and environmental movements.

We welcome papers with anthropological, sociological, literary-historical or economic perspectives, as well as inter-disciplinary approaches that combine two or more of these disciplines. Proposals should be submitted by 17 January 2014. All documents are preferred in English, though Italian will also be accepted. Proposals (no more than 300 words), along with a brief biographical statement (no more than 100 words) must be emailed to:

Panels with up to three speakers can be proposed. For panels, each speaker must in any event send in his or her own proposal, indicating at the end of the proposal the names of the other speakers with whom s/he will make the panel. Panel proposals without all three speakers’ individual proposals will not be accepted.