Histories of American Foodways - Annual Meeting of the Historians in the DGfA

Histories of American Foodways - Annual Meeting of the Historians in the DGfA

Nina Mackert & Jürgen Martschukat, Universität Erfurt, Nordamerikanische Geschichte / Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nordamerikastudien, Historians Chapter
Vom - Bis
13.02.2015 - 15.02.2015
Jürgen Martschukat

Histories of American Foodways
Annual Meeting of the Historians in the German Association of American Studies 2015

Eating right has become a tough challenge in modern America. Every day, Americans face a vast number of food choices, from gene-modified corn and processed lasagna to locally grown vegetables, organic meat and homemade jam. These foodstuffs are produced and sold in a myriad of places, from suburban superstores to the neighborhood’s farmer’s market, from basement food courts to fancy rooftop restaurants. Yet, the American foodscape is even richer than that: It is also a patchwork of traditional and ethnic foodstyles in a society that is local and global at the same time and looks back on a long history of migration, encounter and exchange. Consumers’ choices depend on their cultural traditions, their wealth, their gender, race, age and religion, the status of their health and many other factors. Choosing “right” demands knowledge about personal preferences, the tastes and origins of foodstuffs, their nutritional value, the pleasures and the dangers they provide for individual bodies and the nation.

“Food is good to think with,” French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss pointed out half a century ago. And it is also good to study and write history with. Food provides a variety of paths to the values and structures, patterns, politics and power structures, conflicts and choices of a society. Also, it is the ubiquity and everydayness of eating, which make understanding the history of American foodways so important. Within the recent two decades, food has become a booming topic of historical inquiry on America. Food has been explored in its importance for the colonization processes from the first encounters between Europeans and Americans to the highly globalized world of the 21st century. Both European and American diets looked different before Columbus sailed to America. Historians have also studied food’s relationship to industrialization, with the many changes in processes of food production, allocation and marketing. They have looked at the related transformations of the American diet, the emergence of home economics and nutritional thinking and the changing fears and promises related to various kinds of food, substances and bodies. The historical study of American regional foods and of America’s ethnic foodways and how they relate to the history of immigration and identity has also been an important field of research lately. Furthermore, scholars have studied the histories of various substances and foodstuffs, from vitamins to meat and Iceberg lettuce, and how their production and consumption changed neighborhoods, cities, regions or the whole nation, its taste, technology, and transportation networks. Other research has addressed the moral meanings of foodstuffs, the history of dieting and fasting and the current “obesity crisis” and its meanings for America in the world.

The conference will explore “Histories of American Foodways” in five panels, covering a wide range of topics. Invited keynote speakers will be internationally renowned food historians Prof. Charlotte Biltekoff (UC Davis) and Prof. Bryant Simon (Temple University).

Please register for the conference until January 31, 2015 by sending an email to Maria.Matthes@uni-erfurt.de

Conference fee including board is € 48,50, to be paid at the conference site. For room reservations please get in touch with the Augustinerkloster at veranstaltungen@augustinerkloster.de, indicating DGfA in the subject heading.


FRIDAY, February 13, 2015
14.00 Arrival, registration, coffee and tea in the lobby

15.00 Welcome – Introduction
Nina Mackert/Jürgen Martschukat (Erfurt University)

15:30 – 18:15 Session 1: Immigrant Foodways
Chair: Anke Ortlepp (Kassel University)

German Immigrant Gastronomy at the Golden Gate: Beer Gardens, Cafés, and Restaurants in San Francisco, 1865-1939
Leonard Schmieding (Georgetown University)

“The Art of Brewing Was Developed by the Germans”: Wisconsin’s Beer Barons and the Shaping of a German-American Drinking Culture in Pre-Prohibition USA
Jana Weiß (WWU Münster)

Foodscapes of Chinese America: the Transformation of Chinese American Culinary Culture in Metropolitan California and America – a Cultural History
Xiaohui Liu (LMU Munich)

Eating in Exile: The Politics of Food Production and Food Consumption in a Relocation Camp for Japanese Americans
Konrad Linke (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

18.30 Dinner

20:00-21:15 Keynote address:
Food and the Reverse Fordist Political Economy of Cheap
Bryant Simon (Temple University)
Chair: Nina Mackert (Erfurt University)

SATURDAY, February 14, 2015
8.00 Breakfast

9:00 – 11:00 Session 2: The Knowledge of Eating Right
Chair: Barbara Lüthi (Cologne University)

Feeding the Poor: Home Economics and the Space of Class
Felix Krämer (Kassel University)/Nina Mackert (Erfurt University)

Nutrition and Crime? Food in the Americanization Programs for Mexican Immigrant Families in the American Southwest, 1920-1950
Claudia Roesch (WWU Münster)

Alcoholic Beverages and Changing Scientific Understandings of Eating Right and Eating for Pleasure
Lisa Jacobson (University of California at Santa Barbara)

11:00 Coffee and tea break

11:30 – 12:45 Keynote Address
Eating Right in America: The History of Dietary Ideals as Social Ideals
Charlotte Biltekoff (UC Davis)
Chair: Jürgen Martschukat (Erfurt University)

13.00: Lunch

14:30-16:00 Young Academics Forum: Parallel Workshops
Workshop 1: Transnational History (Chair: Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson, GHI, Washington DC; Presenters: Christoph Ellßel, LMU Munich/Nadja Klopprogge, FU Berlin/David Möller, Erfurt University)
Workshop 2: Social History (Chair: Michael Hochgeschwender, LMU Munich; Presenters: Elise Kammerer, Cologne University/Elena Torres Ruiz, LMU Munich/Matthias Vogt, Frankfurt University)

16:00-16.30 Coffee and tea break

16:30-18:30 Session 3: The Politics of Sweetness
Chair: Simon Wendt (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University at Frankfurt/M.)

Sugar: Capitalism and Slavery
Nadja Gernalzick (Mannheim University)

Food and Race: Chocolate as an „Afrodiziac“?
Silke Hackenesch (Kassel University)

Sugar, Sexuality, and Slave Labor: Kara Walker’s “Marvelous Sugar Baby”
Ilka Saal (Erfurt University)

18.30 Dinner

20.00 Business meeting

SUNDAY, February 15, 2015

8.15 Breakfast

9:00-10:30 Session 4: Practices of Cooking Food
Chair: Olaf Stieglitz (Cologne University)

Chopping Onions, Taking Notes: Restaurants and the Art of Participant Observation
Christoph Ribbat (Paderborn University)

Cookin’ with Honey, or What Lesbians Eat
Katharina Vester (American University)

10:30-11:00 Coffee

11.00-12.30 Session 5: Feeding America, Feeding the World
Chair: Andreas Etges (LMU Munich)

Food and Agriculture in the Cold War World
Susan Levine (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Soy in the American Diet after World War II
Ines Prodöhl (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC)



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