The Taste of War Conference

As part of my wider project on food and WWII I organised the conference The Taste of War: Values and Meaning of Food in WWII Italy and France

The conference aims to bring together scholars working on the history, culture and memory of World War Two to discuss the material and imaginary importance of food in wartime Italy and France. Food is crucial for human survival in wartime but is also a means for economic and strategic military power. Moreover, history, literature and cinema have demonstrated its symbolic significance in creating a message of resilience for the present and future. Cara de Silva, In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin (2006) and Anne Georget’s documentary, Imaginary Feasts(2014) are paradigmatic testimonies of the nourishing effect of food imaginaries to survive dreary periods of starvation. Food becomes therefore both a tool to narrate the war and its memory; a symbol of hope; and a lens through which interpret the relation between governments and their population, between allied troops and local people, between occupied territories and enemies. WWII Italy and France provide an interesting viewpoint for this analysis: both economies were mainly agricultural, and in both countries food shortage produced a marked distinction between rural and urban areas. Historical events brought the two countries to face Nazi occupation and Allies liberation, requisitions and black market.

You can read my blog on the conference here

The Taste of War: 

Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory

Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 

Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Friday 5 July 2019

Room G37, 09:15-18:15

09:15    Registration and coffee

09:50    Welcome and Introduction: Katia Pizzi(IMLR/London)

10:00    Keynote Address

Kay Chadwick(Liverpool):  ‘Let Them Eat Bread! Feeding the Propaganda Machine

 in Wartime France’

11:00    Coffee break

11:15    Panel 1: Bread, Politics and Resistance

Karima Moyer-Nocchi (Siena/Roma Tor Vergata):  ‘Pane unico, tanti ricordi: A Panis Perspective of the Late Fascist Era’

Paula Schwartz(Middlebury College):  ‘Every Bite a Battle: Food and Politics in Occupied France’ 

Patrizia Sambuco(IMLR/London):  ‘Food Protests and Food for the Senses: Women in Occupied Italy’

13:00    Lunch

14:00    Panel 2: The Allied Food Aid: Memory and Debates 

Teresa Fiore(Montclair):  ‘Food, Hunger, Migration and the American Myth in Sicily at the Time of the WWII Allied Landing’

Lisa Payne Ossian(Des Moines Area Community College):  ‘“The Grimmest Spectre”:  The French & Italian Dilemmas within the World Famine Emergency of 1946’

15:00    Coffee break

15:15    Panel 3: Food, Women’s Education and Literary Resistance

Marta Brunelliand Anna Ascenzi(Macerata):  ‘Believe, Obey, Cook! Educating Girls and Women for War in Fascist Italy: Between Domestic Virtues and Public Duties (1929-1944)’

Maria Grazia Scrimieri(Côte d’Azur):  ‘Broth, Rice andsoffritto. Food as an Unintentional Tool of Political Commitment in L’Agnese va a morire’

Tommasina Gabriele(Wheaton College): ‘“Non volevo arrendermi”: Food and Resistance in Alba de Céspedes’ Dalla parte di lei’

17:00    Concluding Remarks:Patrizia Sambuco(IMLR/London)

17:15-18:15 Wine reception


Kindly supported by the Cassal Endowment Fund and the Society of Italian Studies

Registration: Standard £20 | Unwaged £10