Aysegul presents on eating out and identity in Oxford
Aysegul was in Oxford last week, presenting at the 4th Global Meeting of the Food Project, part of the on-going ‘Making Sense of’ projects facilitated by the Inter-Disciplinary.Net. Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network that aims to establish a collegial, engaging, inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary platform to promote knowledge exchange and network. As per the ethos of the network, the conference consisted of fully-immersed sessions with a small number of participants, ensuring a friendly atmosphere for participation and critical, self-sustaining, on-going discussions.
The particular theme of this year was ‘Constructing and Defining Food Practices’. Delegates presented on a wide range of issues from commensality on online platforms to nostalgia of commensality and collective memory, authenticity and tradition, social transitions and their impacts on cultural, individual and social identity. Food activism, minorities, consumption and production were also strands of themes that scholars engaged with. Identity prefigured prominently in most presentations.
Aysegul’s presentation also focused on food and identity. Drawing on her fieldwork in Istanbul, Aysegul presented eating out in Istanbul and its particular cafe culture as a contested site of authenticity, tradition and modernity. She discussed how Turkish people negotiated their particular styles and positions in society vis-a-vis what they understood from Turkishness, culture, modernity and tradition.
It’s not always customary to get a proper meal experience at conferences, and food conferences do not always present themselves as exceptions. But, the atmospheric Mansfield College in Oxford, where Food4 conference and the conference dinner was hosted, did provide a privileged exception to the norm!