Introduction: Traversing the local/global and food/culture divides

Carolyn de La Peña, Benjamin N. Lawrance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This interdisciplinary collection contributes to debates about the role and movement of commodities in the historical and contemporary world. The seven articles and Afterword by noted theorist of cuisine Rachel Laudan collectively address a fundamental tension in the emerging scholarly terrain of food studies, namely theorizing the relationship between foodstuff production and cuisine patterns. Originally drafted as contributions to a conference entitled "Tasting Histories: Food and Drink Cultures Through the Ages," convened to celebrate the 2009 opening of the Robert Mondavi Institute of Food and Wine Sciences at the University of California, Davis, the seven articles appearing here were selected from approximately fifty papers presented, from over one hundred and thirty submissions.1 Our conference explored critical issues in food and drink production and consumption, and we encouraged participants to deploy a world-historical lens. We found particularly compelling papers that explored the ways in which food and people interact when one or the other is in motion. In some cases, it is the foods that move, traveling between points of origin and points of consumption on their way to becoming "global" cuisines. In others, it is people who move, creating new meanings for "local" products, sometimes but not always in anticipation of external markets. These papers, now expanded into essays, consider such movements in context, and, in so doing, complicate notions that food "shapes" culture as it crosses borders or that culture "adapts" foods to its neo-local or global contexts. By studying closely the dynamics of contact between mobile foods and/or people and the specific communities of consumption they create, these authors reveal the process whereby local foods become global or global foods become local to be a dynamic, cocreative one jointly facilitated by humans and nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFood and Foodways
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction: Traversing the local/global and food/culture divides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this