Gastronomie et révolution – Gastronomy and Revolution. Call for Papers for a Seminary and a Journal Special Issue

Deadline: June 15 2015

“Probably the greatest contrast between Madrid and Barcelona was in the use of hotels. In the capital Gaylords was later taken over by the Communist Party as a luxurious billet for its senior functionaries and Russian advisers. In Barcelona the Ritz was used by the CNT and the UGT as Gastronomic Unit Number One – a public canteen for all”. (Beevor, The Battle for Spain 2012).


Since the concept of gastronomy presented itself to the letters and the public around the beginning of the 19th century, it has had at times ample cultural and political echoes, and has been given various cultural and political nuances. The present Call for Papers on Gastronomie et révolution – Gastronomy and Revolution (G&R) is oriented to a specific variety of such nuances.

On one side of an ideal line, one could range the social and political opposition of “grand maigreur” and “monde gras” in Zola's Ventre de Paris; Tolstoism and gastronomic abstinence; Chairman Mao's red-braised pork as a model food with simple ingredients and unostentatious presentation; the narrative of privation that is tied (often from the point of view of realistic experience) to rhetorics of militant life. On the other side, noto only Jefferson and Franklin's interest for continental cooking in the process of “Unbecoming British” (Yokota 2011), or the well-known appropriation of gastronomy by the middle class at the time of 19th century bourgeois revolutions; but also the “Guide du cuisinier” and the idea of gastronomical equality in Cabet's Voyage en Icarie; the proletarian gastrosophie of Fourier, a political gastronomy that opposes directly to Brillat-Savarin's bourgeoise gastronomy; the presumed revolutionary character of Futurist gastronomy; the literary depiction of Proletarian cookery in spartacist circles, against cuisine as bourgeois tradition; the controverse idea of “Democratic luxury” as “an essential part of the everyday of the Soviet people” (Gronow, Sociology of Taste 1997); the “Slow Food Revolution” and its connection to the political movements of the years 1960s-'70s. And possibly other experiences that have not yet been considered in historical studies.

This Call for Papers intends to address such aspects as the latter. In particular, we envisage the historiographic depiction of occasional encounters, or more systematic connections, between radical, indeed revolutionary political programs, and the idea of appropriating the pleasures typical of ruling classes, often in relation to bourgeois or proletarian revolutionary movements and commotions. Such connections have brought about, instead of the usual fostering of parsimony and ascetism that seems to necessarily complement revolutionary militancy, the pursuing of alternative forms and purposes of gastronomy in a revolutionary perspective.

After reception and a reviewing phase that will involve both the editorial and the scientific committees, a maximum of 4 participants will be selected and invited to the G&R seminar, that is to be held in Piedmont (IT) between mid September and mid October 2015, to make an oral presentation—each awarded a travel subsidy.

After the seminar, the purpose of which shall be to improve the selected contributions in an open discussion, the texts will be given their final form and will contribute to a special issue of the “Journal of Interdisciplinary History of Ideas”.

Send contribution proposals (in form of a long abstract: 1000-1500 word) before June 1, 2015 to the JIHI Editors: Selected participants will be contacted before June 30.