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Food Research

The International Ethnological Food Research Group was founded in 1970, following  its first Symposium, held at Lund, Sweden, in that year. In 1994, it agreed to work in collaboration with SIEF, as an associated Working Group. Its aims are in line with the ge neral aims of SIEF, and, using the relatively young discipline of ethnological food research, in all its aspects, it will maintain an active scholarly publishing programme, based on major ethnological themes discussed at its conferences. These themes should take into account the historical background as well as the present-day situation, using archival and printed as well as oral evidence, and should have an inter-regional comparative dimension. The approach should also be inter-disciplinary, in liaison with SIEF Working Groups and with neighbouring disciplines.

The Working Group will be aware of the changing definition of ethnology over time. In the 1930s the three key concepts of time, place and social milieu provided a basis for the study of cultural diffusion and periodisation, regional variation and culture zones, etc., when the rural population was seen as the main repository of traditional forms of material and oral culture. Later, the subject area was widened to include study of urban and industrial situations and ethnic movements, in which food and eating habits play a substantial role. The phenomenon of globalisation will be examined from an ethnological point of view, as well as other manifestations of modern times. 

Anyone interested in the activities of the Working Group or in joining the Group may contact the Chair,  Patricia Lysaght, at:  patricia.lysaght(AT)ucd.ie

Chair - Håkan Jönsson (), Lund University, Sweden
Co-chair - Tanja Kocković Zaborski () Ethnographic Museum Zagreb
Secretary - Daša Ličen () Institute of Slovenian Ethnology


SIEF 24th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Museum of Ethnography, Budapest, Hungary, 18-20/09/2024

Conference Theme: Living Eating Habits, Revitalized Foodways and the Concepts of Tradition and Food Heritage

Kemecsi Lajos, Director General, Museum of Ethnography, Budapest
Balogh Balázs, Director General, Research Centre for  the Humanities, Director of the Institute of Ethnology
Kisbán Eszter Professor Emerita, University of Pécs
Patricia Lysaght, SIEF Food Research Group
Håkan Jönsson, SIEF Food Research Group
Báti Anikó, Senior Research Fellow, Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of Ethnology, as a contact person (bati.aniko@gmail.com)

Food as Heritage

In their ‘Introduction: Food and Foodways as Cultural Heritage’ in Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage (2014, 2016), Michael A. Di Giovine and Ronda L. Brulotte remark in terms of food heritage, that food … “binds people together, not only through space but time as well, as individuals collectively remember past experiences with certain meals and imagine their ancestors having similar experiences. When this occurs, food is transformed into heritage … tangible and intangible goods that a society inherits from the past (héritage), preserves in the present, and passes on to the future… These are mediators, linking members of society together through space and time, serving as referential touchstones for a group’s self-identification … and representing the group to outsiders… Already affective in nature, food therefore takes on even greater emotional weight when designated as “heritage.” This heritage can be small in scale, demarcating a particular group or community; it can likewise be large in scale, attempting to solidify nationalistic ideologies or multicultural ideals that purport to unify, homogenize, or celebrate cultural diversity. In all of these cases, it is clear that heritage imparts particular value claims on people, their histories, social structures, and traditions. It is also able to contain and embody the memories of people and places, across space and time…” (Brulotte, Ronda L., Di Giovine, Michael A., [eds.], Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge 2016, 1-2; Ashgate, 2014).

Conference Submissions

Against this discursive background of food heritage implications, the conference focuses on meals and on the ways in which food and foodways are used to create ‘identity claims’ of cultural heritage at local, regional, national and international levels. Submission for the conference may include, but are not limited to the following topics.

Important aspects/questions (examined, to a certain extent with particular regional emphasis in Edible Identities) are:

Guidelines for Paper Proposals

The conference programme consists of plenary keynote lectures, and thematic sessions. If you are interested in presenting a paper at the conference, please submit an abstract before 01/31/2024.

The conference language is English. Presenters of accepted papers are expected to speak for 20 minutes and this will be followed by a discussion.

Application should include:

Applications should be sent by the deadline of 01/31/2024.

Please submit your abstract by e-mail to: bati.aniko(at)gmail.com

Notifications of acceptance of conference submissions: Authors will be notified regarding the acceptance of their submission by 01/03/2024.

Registration fee and payment: Information on fee and registration procedures and accommodation during the conference will follow.

Conference book: An edited book of conference papers is expected to be published.

Venue: Hungary, Budapest, Museum of Ethnography. (https://www.neprajz.hu/en/)

Papers and presentation deadline: 15/09/2024


Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend.

The Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek, Amsterdam, is offering the Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend to support research in the History of Food collection of the University of Amsterdam by scholars working in the area of Food Studies.

Please have a look here. Deadline 15 August 2019.


Places Of Food Production: Origin, Identity, Imagination

The peer-reviewed proceedings of the 21st international ethnological food research conference, organised by Prof. Dr. Silke Bartsch, University of Education Karlsruhe (now TU Berlin), Germany, at the Dr. Rainer Wild-Stiftung, Heidelberg (31.8. – 2.9.2016), have been published. Edited by Silke Bartsch and Patricia Lysaght, the volume explores the relation between food production and place, since, in the age of globilisation, global food production inevitably affects regional food production and eating habits, and regional self-identity. The impact of industrialised food production on food availability is also dealt with, as are the perceived health-risks risks arising therefrom. A sense of alienation, springing from the invisibility of food production, food management processes, and from the concept of “hidden ingredients” is also uncovered and discussed.

Editor of book: Bartsch, Silke, Lysaght, Patricia (eds.), Places of Food Production. Origin, Identity, Imagination. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2017. ISBN 978-3-631-72782-9 (Print); E-ISBN 978-3-631-73022-5 (E-PDF); E-ISBN 978-3-631-73023-2 (EPUB); E-ISBN 978-3-631-73024-9 (MOBI); DOI 10.3726//b11707.