PUBLIC LECTURE: 'Worshipers of the Cross and Eaters of Pork': Food, Conversion and Religious Identity in the Early Modern Mediterranean
|'Worshipers of the Cross and Eaters of Pork': Food, Conversion and Religious Identity in the Early Modern Mediterranean
A public lecture by Eric Dursteler, Associate Professor History Department, Brigham Young University.
One of the central credos of food studies is Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s famous aphorism, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” What Brillat-Savarin sensed intuitively, modern scholars have verified: because of the biological imperative of daily consumption, food inheres in a uniquely intimate way in collective and individual identities. Food also marks religion, where it functions as symbol, as subject of petition, and as a form of communion.
Given the significance of food in religious practice and identity, what impact does conversion have on an individual’s foodways? What changes accompany, or are expected to accompany, conversion? The experience of the Morisco minority in early modern Spain represents a suggestive case-study of the complex ways in which food informed religious and communal identity, and how the sincerity of religious change associated with conversion was measured in part by changes in food practices.
This lecture is supported by the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.
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