The Diasporic Plate: Food in the Contemporary Diasporic World in Times of Crisis

A Series of Online events from 27 November to 11 December 2020

Institute of Modern Languages Research, Centre for the Study of Cultural memory in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in London

Final Programme available here:

Confirmed keynote speakers: Claire Chambers (York), Simone Cinotto (Pollenzo), Deirdre “Dee” Woods (London), Diego Zancani (Oxford)

This conference aims to bring together scholars working in the areas of food studies, postcolonial and migration studies among others to discuss the complex significance of food in the contemporary diasporic world and in times of crisis.  The Covid-19 crisis has made clear the pivotal importance of food discourses in a period of crisis. Historically food scarcity has been, and still is, an important factor attached to fundamental changes such as war, pandemics and mass migration. In turn, these significant international dynamics have created other meaningful transformations in people’s daily lives, for instance the hybridization of foodways. Moreover, in everyday life as in literary and cultural representations, food can become a means to express resilience in hostile and unsafe environments and a form of empowerment. Food enterprises promoting the cooperation between migrants and local people have developed in various countries; literature often makes use of food stories and images to represent migrants’ lives in their destination country. Women, from the traditional kitchen to contemporary social media, have been at the centre of forms of resilience as well as of gendered constructions related to food. Cities – as the new environment most typically encountered by migrants – are often places where hybridizations and new meanings take place. 

The conference will include live and recorded events which will be made available online on our conference page, it will also include the opportunity to exchange views among attendees and to interact with keynote speakers and contributors. The conference will extend over the Fridays and Saturdays from 27 November to 11 December 2020. 

We invite 15-minute papers (to be delivered on Zoom). Topics may include:

  • food consumption in time of crisis; 
  • food as resilience in the diasporic world;
  • literary and cultural representations of foodways;
  • feminist interpretations of global food systems;
  • taste and the city – how the sensory shapes our perceptions of cities;
  • the transcultural and translingual function of food and taste, that is how food and taste create meanings and symbols travelling through languages and cultures;
  • food and tradition – how reversion to food ‘traditions’ in time of crisis creates new ones 

Interested speakers should send an abstract of about 250 words and a short bio to Dr Patrizia Sambuco email: by 21 September.

Organisers: Bryce Evans (Liverpool Hope University),

Patrizia Sambuco (IMLR),