The cultural history of food

Authored by: Deborah Valenze

Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782647
eBook ISBN: 9780203819227
Adobe ISBN: 9781136741661


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The cultural history of food rests on a venerable foundation of classic works and methodologies in the historical literature. This essay traces the development of discussions of food by the Annales school of the 1920s, British Marxist historians, anthropological studies, and studies of consumption, including discussion of the notion of a “civilizing process.” While earlier work concentrated on the role of producers and common people, more recent discussion has shifted attention to elites, personal taste, and aesthetics. Methodologies surveyed include the investigation of sensibilities of consumption, disciplinary practices related to the body, medicine and science, material history, agricultural history, and the history of luxury.

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