Culinary Routes/Roots

deadline for submissions: 
September 16, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Department of English, University of Delhi
contact email: 

What are the implications involved in making sense of food today? Commensality, consumption taboos and culinary literature that surround food practices and cultural history function as markers of the identity of individuals and communities. Grand narratives on the subject are more likely to render identity fragile rather than robust, and often need interrogation themselves. Food, even when relegated to the realm of the everyday, manifests its presence and pressures in complicated ways. Given this reality, can food or even the language and literature surrounding food be taken for granted?

This conference aims to address literature, popular media and culture and the symbolic or metaphorical engagement with food inscribed within. In this context, the questions evoked are many:

  •  Why is food central to language, literature and cultural modes of existence? How does one account for its representation? Is it merely the given or does it become a symbol or metaphor evoking epiphanies?
  •  How does representation of food impact our existence and what are its links to identity – personal, collective, religious, regional and national? Can consumption of food as represented in various ways be read as consumption of culture?
  •  Can language capture the nuances associated with food such as taste, flavour and fragrance and its inevitable link to memories? Is it possible to imagine food which one has not tasted, Ambrosia, for instance?  Do we relish the imagined food or that which we eat?  How do we understand the ways in which this sensory experience is translated into a play with space and time?

The possibilities pertaining to these questions may be explored under the following heads, which are indicative but not restrictive.

       Imagining, translating, visualising and performing the experience of food

       Can the subaltern eat?

       Gastronomical Gendering

       Globalization and Gastro-anomie

       Ambrosia: Food for the Gods/Goddesses

       Hunting Games to Hunger Games: Detours and Deconstructions

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words, institutional affiliation, and a/v needs by the firm deadline of 16 September 2016 Notification of acceptance will be sent via e-mail by 27 September 2016.

Registration Fees

Faculty Members: Rs. 1000/-

Independent Scholars/Researchers: Rs. 700/-

Students: Rs. 200/-

Important Dates

16 September 2016          Submission of abstracts

27 September 2016          Notification of acceptance

12 October 2016              Last date for registration

2-3 November 2016          Conference


Conference Committee

Swetha Antony (Convenor)

Advisory Committee Members

Raj Kumar

Ira Raja

Pooja Negi