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About the conference

Food and the life-span in Europe 1800-2000

ICREFH (International Commission for Research into European Food History) Symposium, in Copenhagen, September 28-30, 2015
Organized by Copenhagen Centre for Health Research in the Humanities (the Saxo Institute) at the University of Copenhagen and The Danish Royal Library.
Place: Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. 

Examining changes in standards of living
The aim of this symposium is to attract contributions from a range of academic disciplines, including; history, sociology, anthropology, biology and nutrition, in order to shed light on the changing relationship between food and the life-span in Europe from an historical perspective.

Examining changes in the relationship between food and different age segments of the population, both in and across time, will enhance our overall understanding of the fundamental changes in European standards of living during and after industrialization. 

Profound changes in the last centuries
From 1800 to 2000 Europe underwent a series of significant changes:

  • The population increased more than five-fold
  • European countries were transformed from rural to predominantly urban societies
  • Real wages rose
  • Food supply increased
  • Food expenditure eventually took up a smaller share of household budgets

These developments have had profound influence on the way Europeans understand, and relate to food throughout their lives.

Differences in diet
Even if all European countries experienced economic growth between 1800 and 2000, changes in food culture, perceptions, and practices differed across the continent. National differences in diet just as much as differences in ethnicity and gender, illustrate the importance of cultural, social, and political choices in the formation of our societies.

It is our hope that the symposium will attract contributions from all parts of Europe and thus provide us with a richer image of the similarities and differences between national developments.

The deadline for submission of paper abstracts has expired.