CFP: Framing Recipes: Identity, Relationships, Norms

Submission deadline: December 4, 2018

Conference date(s):
December 4, 2018 - December 6, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, State University of Milan
Milano, Lombardy, Italy, Italy

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Call for Papers and Panel Presentations 
Framing Recipes: Identity, Relationships, Norms 
December 4-6, 2018 University of Milan, Italy

Submission deadline: September 15, 2018 
Send submissions to: andrea.borghini@unimi.it

This inaugural conference of the Culinary Mind Network (European Network for the Philosophy of Food), hosted by the Philosophy Department at the University of Milan, is devoted to the study of recipes from a philosophical perspective. 

Philosophers have tackled important questions pertaining to the ethics of our dietary choices and the aesthetic worth of foods. But many dimensions of eating remain by and large unexplored, including recipes. Recipes are key tools in any culinary culture, instructing diners on how to prepare dishes in a safe, nutritious, pleasing fashion. Their oral transmission, by means, for instance, of rhyming descriptions, was arguably pivotal to the thriving of the human species. In the past two centuries, the propagation of restaurant culture, including menus, themselves arranged in terms of recipes, has significantly contributed to the ascent of recipes, and probably also to the custom of writing them down. Today, cookbooks have come to be a major sector of the publishing industry. TV shows and media are also treating recipes in a manner more and more akin to items of popular culture like songs and movies. Not only do some recipes now benefit from the legal and socio-economic advantages of being vicariously protected through the culinary cultures listed under the Intangible Cultural Heritage list; recipes associated with so-called geographical indications, e.g. gorgonzola and Parmigiano cheese, have been protected by intellectual property rights for a long time. Still, the increasing importance of recipes in the public sphere is not matched by a scholarly study of them. Particularly lacking seems to be a theoretical framework through which to adequately express questions and positions driving the public debates concerning recipes.

The conference aims to cover the theoretical gap in the study of recipes by addressing three major themes: identity; relationships; and norms.

Topics regarding the identity of recipes include:

  • definition of recipes;
  • uniformity and disuniformity among recipes;
  • identity of recipes through time;
  • taxonomies of recipes (e.g. NY style pizza/pizza margherita/pizza);
  • relationship between recipes and the foods that stand for them;
  • relationship between recipes and ingredients;
  • relationship between recipes, meals, and diets;
  • comparisons between recipes and songs/architectural plans/plays in sports.

The constitutive relationships that characterize recipes include:

  • recipes and territory;
  • recipes and producers (e.g. artisanship, gender roles, milieus of production);
  • recipes and consumers (e.g. expertise, exoticism, cultural encounters);
  • places and spaces of production.

Finally, the conference aims to study the norms guiding the naming, production, and consumption of recipes. For instance:

  • norms concerning the constitutive authority to label a recipe;
  • norms concerning the cultural appropriation of recipes (especially at the production stage);
  • norms concerning intellectual property rights related to recipes;
  • norms concerning the manners to consume a recipe;
  • norms concerning the interplay between aesthetics and ethics in labeling, producing, and consuming recipes.

The conference will bring together a strong and assorted cohort of scholars and experts (e.g. cooks, writers) on recipes, with a primary philosophical focus. At this time, we are welcoming submissions for either paper or panel presentations. Paper presentations should be approximately 3000 words in length and contain key ideas and arguments suitable for a 50-minute session (35 minutes of presentation plus 15 minutes discussion). Panel presentations should be 1000 words in length. Submissions should be prepared for blind review.

Please send submissions to Andrea Borghini: andrea.borghini@unimi.it by September 15, 2018. Notification of acceptance will be by October 1, 2018.

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