Globalization and Industrialization: History and Food Panel

AHA Session 13
Thursday, January 3, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Salon 6 (Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor)
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, University of Notre Dame

Session Abstract

Worrying about the globalised food system is a contemporary preoccupation. There has, however, been a steady stream of scholarship that demonstrates the much longer history of globalization, especially the globalization of food. This panel understands globalization as the intensification of cultural and trade connections, which have clearly been deepening for centuries, particularly in culinary forms. Paying attention to historical change is essential to understanding how food has helped shaped human society. Taking examples from North America, Europe and Asia, this panel draws together historic examples of engagement with global and industrial food systems, to show how the industrialization of food was concomitant with globalization.

In his paper, Jeffrey Pilcher takes as his focus St. Lawrence Market, Toronto, Canada. He uses methods of historical geography to ask whether and how Anglo merchants have retained control over urban provisioning despite the transformations brought by industrialization, immigration, and global commodity chains. Taking a recent political scandal (#couscousgate) as her point of departure, Lauren Janes analyzes the use of food as a marker of identity in French politics. Her paper places these recent events in the context of a national culinary discourse that since the First World War has set racialized boundaries around what it means to eat as a French person. For Alice Weinreb, the First World War is also a pivotal point, and in her paper she suggests that the study of Germany during World War I shows that war is an intrinsic component of this food system and that food industrialization is inseparable from the rise of modern warfare. In the context of Singapore, food industrialization, with its appeals to cleanliness, technology and mechanization, played an important role in teaching consumers what to fear and allaying those fears. In her paper, Nicole Tarulevicz uses Singapore as an example of how globalization and industrialization of food highlights the regimes of knowledge, both global and local, that make people afraid of getting sick.

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