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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

POSTPONED - Gastro-Politics & Gastro-Ethics of Diversity: Negotiating Islam in an Entangled World

Thursday 19 May 2022
What's New?! Spring Lecture Series 2022
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
School dinners, photo: Chris Radburn, PA Photos


School food, feeding, and eating are intertwined with trenchant national and transnational debates on issues of rising obesity, food (in)security, migration, and ‘integration’ in England and other parts of the UK, as also more widely in Europe and beyond. State interventions and initiatives in the UK such as the National Healthy Schools Programme are amongst various attempts to address this. Successive governments have sought to evoke changes in food preparation, distribution, and consumption patterns calibrated by varying forms of social inequality, religious and cultural diversity. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on feeding and eating halal meals in maintained schools in London, this lecture reveals the conundrums, contestations, and negotiations between “unwanted economic difference”, “respect for religious or cultural difference”, “the regulation of difference”, and the “need for inclusion and integration” in fraught plural environments. In so doing, it highlights the role that food, as embedded in the dynamics of trusting/not-trusting, plays in such tensions and conflicts in entangled co-existence.

About Manpreet K. Janeja

Manpreet K. Janeja is a socio-cultural anthropologist with a special interest and expertise in the ethnographic study of food, trust, religion, migration, gender, and diversity in urban South Asia and Europe. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at Utrecht University, and Visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Leiden University. She is the author of Transactions in Taste: the Collaborative Lives of Everyday Bengali Food (2010; E-book 2020), co-editor of Imagining Bangladesh: Contested Narratives (2014) and Ethnographies of Waiting: Doubt, Hope and Uncertainty (2018; Open Access 2020). Her next book The Aesthetics of School Meals: (Dis)trust, Risk, and Uncertainty (under contract) is in the works. She has previously been Eugénie Strong Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at Girton College, University of Cambridge; Visiting Scholar at Stanford University (Centre for South Asia); Visiting Research Fellow at Lund University (SASNET) and at the London School of Economics (Department of Social Policy). She has also taught at the Universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen. 

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