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Conference Papers Year : 2019

An Elephant in the Room: Food and the Historiography of the Senses (keynote address)

Abstract

Gastronomy offers up food as something akin to a Gesamtkunstwerk. Meals are multidimensional, they excite all five senses. And yet, an almost exclusive attention to taste has dominated food history since its beginnings. This talk raises the question of the reasons why food historians have paid so little attention to the other senses in the 19th and 20th centuries. It argues that a physiological model emphasizing each individual sense and its contribution to social life drove historical investigation in general. That historiography seems now to have reached its limits. Many recent studies call for taking up the challenge of explaining the interaction of the different senses in human life. So far, progress has been halting, not the least so because historians have ignored the one subject to integrate all the senses: food. It is the elephant in the room. The paper suggests some avenues of research.
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Dates and versions

hal-03930226 , version 1 (09-01-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03930226 , version 1

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Martin Bruegel. An Elephant in the Room: Food and the Historiography of the Senses (keynote address). A Feast of the Senses: European Food and History 18th-20th Century, 15th Colloquium of the International Commission of Research into European Food History (ICREFH), Sep 2019, Albi, France. ⟨hal-03930226⟩
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