Food anxieties in Twentieth Century Britain and Ireland
Call for papers
Friday 7th April 2017
Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, Ulster University.
BA-03-019-3 (Board Room, Belfast campus)
The twentieth century witnessed mounting anxiety about what we eat. In the western world obesity rates rose, the popularity of ‘junk food’ raised concerns about dietary health, and constant food scares caused deep unease. Partly in response to such problems, the post-war period saw rising interest in organic food, vegetarian diets and health foods. The changing epidemiological structure of western societies meant that people were more likely to live longer but suffer from chronic illness such as diabetes and heart disease linked by medical scientists to poor dietary choices.
This workshop will explore anxieties that surrounded food in twentieth-century Britain and Ireland. It asks: In what ways were diet, health and illness linked? To what extent was nutritional advice scientifically objective or moralising in nature? How did consumers interpret the diverse messages emanating from medical scientists and other dietary advisors? In what ways did new medical discourses on ideal weight stigmatise the obese? Did the new diets of an increasingly multicultural society raise health concerns? And how much attention did consumers and patients actually pay to changing warnings about over-eating and negative nutrition?
While a rich historiographical literature on topics such as obesity exists in relation to North America, this workshop seeks to build a network of active researchers with an interest in British and Irish contexts with a view to forging future collaborations. The interdisciplinary event is open to researchers from all relevant disciplines whose research examines the intersection between diet, health and illness.
Potential themes could include:
- Dietary change in twentieth-century Britain and Ireland
- Moralising tendencies in dietary advice
- Food scares and their meanings
- Health, diet and well-being
- Eating and emotional cultures
- The rise of fast food and health foods
- Food politics and public health
- Ethnic diversity in the British and Irish diets
- The ethics of consuming and producing
- Cultures of dieting and dietary ‘fads’
This Wellcome Trust-sponsored event, organised by Dr Ian Miller (lecturer at Ulster University) and Dr Bryce Evans (senior lecturer at Liverpool Hope University) will take place on 10 April 2017 at the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, Ulster University, Belfast campus.
A keynote address will be delivered by Dr Matthew Smith, University of Strathclyde).
A limited amount of funding is available to speakers to cover transport costs.
Abstracts (c.250 words) should be submitted no later than 25 January 2016. Enquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com