International Winter School:

Entangled food histories. Mobility in food cultures from ancient history to contemporary times

Università degli Studi di Pavia

For external patercipants

We welcome people who are not enrolled in the Winter school. For administrative reasons, we kindly ask you to register using the following link

Why a Winter school on food history?

For many years, international organizations, media, and governments have discussed the issues related to food security and food safety. These topics have been seen as something which concerns distant countries. Nevertheless, especially in the last months, these topics have touched us in person: Europe has been run over by terrible storms, fires, and lack of drought. Furthermore, all the consequences of the international situation have affected the cost of food.

Taking into account the current situation, investigating the history of food could be useful to seek the continuity and discontinuity during the centuries and across different places. Are the issues of our present similar or different from the past? Why did people entrust politics to solve these problems? Which kind of solution were suggested or tested in different countries and times?

Keeping in mind these questions and according to the fact that the courses on history of food are not so common in the universities, this Winter school aims to give some methodological tools to the participants regarding the history of food.

Why this specific topic?

The winter school is entitled Entangled food histories. Mobility in food cultures from ancient history to contemporary times, but what does it mean and what will we do?

According to the dictionary, entanglement is a situation or relationship that you are involved in and that is difficult to escape from, and that is definitely what food is. Food is culture, it is something that we deal with daily. From an academic point of view, it is a tool that defines our culture and the different global, national or local identity. Due to this, it could be studied from a historical perspective.

This first edition of the Winter school concerns the concept of mobility. In our time we consider it normal to taste different kinds of food, to import or export different ingredients, to have at disposal a large number of ethnic cuisines. The fundamental questions are two: did the food cultures in the past move from one place to another? And how could a foreign ingredient be integrated into the local cuisine?

More in detail, the first day will frame the concept of food cultures, the methodology and the relationship between food and identity. From the second day to the fourth day, the concept of mobility will be splitted in three topics: circulation (how did the ingredients and the foor practice circulate during the centuries?); transformation (when there is a different context from the previous one, how is the food transformed?) and settlement (how cooking practices are stabilized not just by means of writing in order to establish and / or strengthen a collective identity). Finally the last day will discuss ways used by the governments to face the issues of food security and food safety.

More detailed information can be found in the Call for applications:

M. Montanari