On the national scene, Adelaide often gets dismissed as the poor cousin (or the quaint maiden aunt). But food-wise, and especially in regard to food studies, it’s at the epicentre.
The University of Adelaide Food Studies Program, as already mentioned, is one of only a very few offered worldwide and the Food Writing course is the ultimate one and only. In last week’s class of fifteen, four participants were Adelaide based and the rest were from interstate or overseas. Just to prove the point further, this week Adelaide is hosting the International Food Studies Conference.
The organising committee comprises faculty members of several Australian universities. Food studies, as an academic discipline, has been in existence for some time, although for some reason it doesn’t have a high profile. Perhaps once not considered particularly intellectual enough, the field of food studies is one that is now recognised as being relevant and significant for people working in a wide variety of fields.
The conference has attracted considerable attention from scholars around the world and approximately 80 delegates are expected to attend. Papers will deal with diverse subjects ranging from history, public health and medicine, the food industry, tourism, anthropology, media studies and more. It’s hard to think of an academic discipline that isn’t touched in some way by what people eat and drink, both now and historically.
Just some of the sessions to be included are:
- Eating and Mobility: Toward a New Approach to Studying Food Practices, In-Flight Meals
- Good Food – Moral Choices
- Food and the Nation Again: Kitchen Cabinet’s Contribution to the Field
- Baking, Gender and Shifting Nostalgic Consumption
- The Environmental Impact of Australia’s Favourite Meals
- Malaysian Culinary Culture: Foreign Ethnic Food Consumption and the Alteration of the Dominant Culture’s Cuisine
- Love in a Hot Climate: Foodcapes of Trade, Travel, War and Intimacy
South Australia is the perfect place to host a conference of this kind. South Australian food producers are among the finest in the world and fortunately are now being recognised as such. The food culture of this state is amazingly diverse and deserves celebration. Our artisanally produced goods, our wines and our farmers markets are the equal of anything to be found in the famous food producing regions of the world. Living in Adelaide, we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep places like McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley, the Adelaide Hills, the Clare Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula, Limestone Coast … and the list goes on. Not to mention within the city itself, the delights of the Adelaide Central Market, Gouger Street, Rundle Street and the new laneways being opened up to cafe culture.
When it comes to food and wine South Australia is leading the nation and on a par with the best the world has to offer. It’s great to see we’ve also established a vibrant centre of research and learning related to food.
by Anne Green
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