The Discourses of Food from the 19th-century to the Inter-war Period



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue







The Henri Peyre French Institute


Panel Discussion

  • Professor Julia Przybos, Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in French, most recently, author of, Les Aventures du corps masculin (Paris: Corti, 2012), will speak on "De l'imagination physiologique".
  • Dr. Joseph Rienti, (Assistant Director, International and Study Abroad Programs, Fordham University; Ph.D. The Graduate Center. Fall 2013) will speak on the place of the restaurant in the literary culture of the second half of the 19th century;
  • Lauren K. Christensen (doctoral candidate, Ph.D. Program in French)  will speak on "Cuisine as Nation: Regional Food, National Identity, and French Gastronomic Writing (1918-1940)."
This Spring 2014 semester, the Henri Peyre French Institute launches the HPFI three-year seminar Food, Power, Exchange and Identity in the French and Francophone Worlds .

The “Food and Power” seminar is built on the expertise of scholars from CUNY and other institutions as well as from independent scholars and invites active participation from the public and especially from within the entire Graduate Center and the University. We thus encourage scholars to view us as a space of sharing and dissemination, as a crossroads and home for advanced research as well as ongoing explorations of the field in its many dimensions.

The seminar focuses on the relation between food as cultural process and specific foodstuffs that have a rich and complex history both in the arts and in society. Seminar activities each semester center on specific foods and forms of processing in the French and Francophone worlds. The semester topics are: Salt; Sugar, Coffee; Fruit (indigenous and imported); Wine; and Transformation Processes that preserve foods. Other events will include discussions of taste, discourses on physiology, cultural difference, and structures of exchange.

 The transfer of such foodstuffs from their natural habitat to markets, kitchens and tables is inseparable from long term impacts on the communities that produce them, and also change the economic and cultural makeup of their point of arrival. Networks of exchange and production operate through plantation systems of exploitation, colonialism and migration, as well as industrialized agriculture and equal trade. Migrating, cultivating, gathering, processing and preserving generate rich forms of local and popular cultures. The Seminar includes conferences and panel discussions as well as digital means, in particular online forums and online exhibits.