This Group provides an opportunity for scholars to engage in the intersection of religion and food, foodways, and food ethics. We are interested in examining these topics across broad geographical areas, religious traditions, and historical eras. We seek papers investigating practices and beliefs related to food, drink, fasting, the production of food, the ethics of production and consumption, or on any aspect of religiously influenced foodways.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
1) Inspired by our Boston location, we welcome submissions that treat the question of food in the colonial period, particularly among the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, the Cavaliers of the Chesapeake, the Quakers of the Mid-Atlantic, as well indigenous/native contemporaneous communities. We are particularly interested in the use of regional ingredients and religious practice/associations.
2) Similarly, we welcome papers related to the carrying of food cultures during (im)migration
3) Also related to region and calendar location, we welcome submissions that engage the themes related to Thanksgiving: a) as a ceremonial meal, b) as a locus for nostalgia and romanticization, c) as a place to proclaim (or deny) hospitality, and d) as a means of asserting or appropriating identity.
4) For a possible tri-sponsored session with the Religion & Ecology, Religion & Food, and Class, Religion & Theology units, we invite proposals on the theme of food systems as interfaces between religion, ecology, and class. Food practices are central to nearly every religion — and this food is generated by broader food systems that simultaneously have major environmental impacts, make use of myriad forms of exploited (gendered and raced) labor, and mediate widespread class-based economic and health inequalities. Proposals can address one or several of these (or related) intersections. Historical, ethnographic, sociological, theological, and critical-theoretic methods are all welcome.
5) For a possible co-sponsored session between the Mysticism Unit and Religion & Food Unit, we welcome papers focusing on mystical consumption, including not only the idea of food, drink, or other forms of consumption as mystical practices, but also the idea of the mystic as food, or what is consumed.