Mumbai to host food archaeology conference next month

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The city is hosting a conference that will look at food from point of views of history, archaeology and sociology.

Titled “ArchaeoBroma”, the conference, to be held on May 5 and 6, is being touted as India’s first-ever national meet on “food as culture”.

 It will be organised by the India Study Centre Trust (INSTUCEN Trust) and the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (CEMS) of the University of Mumbai.

“This is the first nationwide conference on the archaeology, anthropology and sociology of food,” said Mugdha D Karnik, Director, CEMS and Managing Trustee, INSTUCEN Trust. Kurush Dalal, Assistant Professor, CEMS, said the meet will highlight the need to study food in a systematic and academic manner.

“We should also study the culture reflected in food,” he said. “Where art, architecture and literature are easily seen as the expression of a culture and its values, food is rarely seen as such, although it is central to the mundane as well as celebratory lives of people.

“Food carries with it multiple associations of culture, including social privilege and deprivation, wealth and poverty, conservatism and liberality,” according to a concept note prepared by Dalal and Raamesh Gowri Raghavan, an associate with the INSTUCEN Trust.

Topics like concepts in food studies will focus on creating an academic framework for examining food from point of views of history, archaeology and sociology.

Indian food practices related to cereals, pulses, meats and fats will also be discussed.

Role played by tea and coffee in modern Indian culture is another topic to be deliberated at the seminar.

Another section will examine the traditions of food selection, preparation and consumption among a group of communities ” the Kolis, the Pathare Prabhus, the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, the East Indians and the Konkani Muslims, the organisers said.