Day 1 of the conference (Friday, March 31) will be devoted to building up the idea of culinary nationalism in Asia through a variety of specific cases, featuring a keynote speech by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, “Centers and Peripheries: Culinary Countries in the 21st Century.”

Day 2 of the conference (Saturday, April 1) will be devoted to exposing the cracks and fissures of culinary nationalism in Asia and moving beyond strict national borders, featuring a keynote speech by James Watson, “Culinary Nationalism: Asia and Beyond.”

The following questions motivate our collective conversation:

– How have foodways contributed to the formation of cultural and national identities in different Asian locations? What are the particular characteristics of culinary nationalism as it has appeared in these different locations?

– Does it make sense to talk about “Asian” foodways in any collective sense? Are there similarities in terms of foodstuffs, historical experiences, or cultural norms, which make such comparisons legible or meaningful? Or are these varied experiences and foodways too disparate to compare?

– How have Asian national culinary identities sharpened themselves against and/or incorporated international/Western/Euroamerican foodstuffs, culinary standards, or experiences?

– Does a strong sense of regional culinary identities or multicultural culinary legacies contribute to or complicate the formation of national culinary identities? How exactly do different aggregate culinary identities intersect or interact?

– At what points does culinary nationalism break down in Asia? Who is invited or prevented from sitting at the table? Are hunger and violence implicit critiques of culinary nationalism? How do foodways in Asia transgress national boundaries or move beyond them?

UNC Chapel Hill / March 30-April 1, 2017