Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 15-18, 2012--Rochester, New York
For better and for worse, modernity has surely left its mark on the food we daily eat. Two hundred years ago in 1812, Bryan Donkin purchased from a London broker the patent for canning food items inside tin containers. Within the next decade canned goods were widespread in Britain and France (Robertson 123). One hundred and fifty years ago in the spring of 1862, Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard’s experiments with heating liquids eventually led to pasteurized drinks—first wine and beer and then, later, milk (Greene, Guzel-Seydim, and Seydim 88).
This panel explores how literature has addressed the last two hundred years of rapidly modernizing food—a path involving hybridization, preservation, pasteurization, synthesizing, and genetic manipulation. If Brillat-Savarin’s aphorism is still telling today (“Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are”), what does literature tell us about the modern alimentary subject consuming and or pondering the foods altered by modernity? Always already integrated into our lives on multiple levels, food could not be modernized without other far reaching implications. When discussing food marked by modernity, what larger social or cultural preoccupations does literature engage? How do different authors, historical periods, literary movements, or genres posit the “the mark of modernity” on food? How might literary explorations of modernity and food inform our own contemporary food concerns?
Please send 300-500 word abstracts and a brief bio to Michael D. Becker, firstname.lastname@example.org with “NeMLA 2012” as the subject. Please include your name, affiliation, email address, and A/V requirements ($10 fee with registration).
Deadline: September 30, 2011
Greene, Annel K., Zeynep B. Guzel-Seydim, and Atif Can Seydim. “The Safety of Ready-to-Eat Diary Products.” Ready-to-Eat Foods: Microbial Concerns and Control Measures. Ed. Andy Hwang and Lihan Huang. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis, 2010. 81-123. Print.
Roberts, Gordon L. Food Packaging: Principles and Practice. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis, 2006. Print.