“The use of food and cuisine as an instrument
to create a cross- cultural understanding
in the hopes of improving interactions and cooperation”
Food is not only a vital part of our lives, representing history, traditions, and culture, but food can also be used as an instrument to create cross-cultural understanding. In fact, food is the base of every society and at the same time it is a tool to communicate ideas, values, identities, and attitudes. Consequently, the topic of food brings together issues of economics, politics, nationality, family, and religion. For us, food is both a weapon and a blanket, a control and a protest tool. Moreover, besides food being a focal point for public policy making, social activism, and cultural mobilization, we perceive food to have the ability to both create and dismantle boundaries. At the same time, we are aware that the preparation, sharing, and consuming of food play an important role regarding relations among society’s members, as a nation and its culture are defined by the meals that people consume and the people who eat those cuisines. In our workshop, we therefore want to investigate the inherent (cultural, social, and political) power of Asian food in a global context.
In the context of Asian food, there is nothing new about its beginning of globalization with the European colonization of Asia. Since that time, Asian food and foodstuff spread among the people of colonial powers – such as soy, ginger, and rice. And in the last couple decades, Asian food and cuisines even became global culinary trends (Farber 2015), sought after for their exciting “exoticism”, and even symbolizing exclusiveness.
In our understanding, Asian societies’ emphasis on food is conspicuously greater than in the “West” as the power of food is involved in more aspects of life: Food-focused activities and knowledge occupy greater portion of daily activities, incl. religious aspects such as food symbolism and food offerings in general.
By tracing Asian food both inside and outside of Asia, in course of this workshop, we want to explore the power of food in regard to the relationship between food and religious rituals, between food and identity construction, as well as on food in international politics.
This international workshop aims at bringing together the expertise of scholars of various disciplines whose work focuses on the various power-related topics in terms of Asian food.
Interested scholars are encouraged to submit an abstract (max. 500 words) and a short biography (max. 150 words) in English, until October 29, 2021.
Ute Wallenböck, Dep. of Chinese Studies, Masaryk University, Brno: firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronika Zikmundová, Institute of Asian Studies, Charles University, Prague: email@example.com
This page will be updated in due time. Last update: October 19, 2021.