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Call for Papers:: Italian Foodways Worldwide: A Conference on the Dispersal of Italian Cuisine(s) (York University, Toronto, Oct. 19-22, 2017)

04 Apr 2017 5:57 AM | Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano (Administrator)

The Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian-Canadian Studies with the Italian Studies Program of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, York University, the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario and the Culinaria Research Centre, University of Toronto, Scarborough are pleased to announce a forthcoming conference on the worldwide dissemination of Italian foodways. Presentations are invited from anyone interested in the connection between Italian cuisine(s) both at home and abroad and the development of Italian or Italian-Canadian ethnic identity.  Any aspect of Italian foodways will be considered including, but not limited to, consuming and marketing of Italian food stuffs; growing, preparing, exporting and importing them; and similar topics. All practical and scholarly disciplines are welcome including, for example, not only historians, sociologists, anthropologists, linguists but also those with an active interest in food production, preparation, and marketing, to name only a few possibilities.

The important observation that “we are what we eat” (Gabaccia 1998) has profound implications for cultural identity not only for countries of immigration, where diverse foodways come into contact, but also for those from where the exported foodways originate. As is well known, Italians formed the largest European emigrant group of the 19th and 20th centuries and, as they dispersed globally, they carried their cuisine(s) with them. Of course, these were culinary ‘traditions’ which themselves had changed significantly over time and in particular through the period of the Columbian Exchange which long preceded the formation of the modern Italian nation state.

In their global dispersal, both before and after unification, Italians may have carried with them only a memory of a cuisine but, wherever they settled, enclaves or so-called colonie or Little Italies were established and efforts to recreate the memory began. That re-creation, however, always happened in the presence of other cultures and other foodstuffs. At the same time, the culture(s) of origin were far from static with regard to so-called ‘traditional’ cuisine(s).

The conference will take place from Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 October, 2017 at York University in Toronto, Canada with some of the proceedings taking place at the University of Toronto, Scarborough and elsewhere. Presenters are invited to submit a brief proposal describing their contribution. A full-text version of the proposal will be required for dissemination two weeks before the conference date and funding is currently being sought to finance the publication of a volume (for which papers will be peer reviewed) derived from the proceedings. Limited funding may be available to cover some travel costs incurred by presenters attending the conference. 

Please send an abstract (maximum 250 words) to the organizers Professor Gabriele Scardellato ( and Professor Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano ( by Monday 3 July 2017.  Please include full name and institutional affiliation (if applicable) along with contact information.

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