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Foodways & Identity

18 nov


18.11.2019, 10:00 til 22.11.2019, 16:00
An international conference on food and drink traditions

This international academic conference explores how traditions involving food and drink help shape and maintain cultural identity across the globe.

Everyone eats, yet cultures around the world have developed strikingly different traditions surrounding food and drinks, ranging from customs concerning the slaughtering of animals to food preparation, snacks, meals, and toasts. Foodways may be localised, but they have also long been globalised, with trading routes transporting both staple and luxury ingredients and produce between far-flung destinations: Bronze Age salt roads, ancient intercontinental spice routes, the Classical Mediterranean’s wine and garum trades, and the introduction of New World produce into Old World kitchens all evidence the historical significance of food and drink for economies and societies.

Eating and drinking customs continue to travel, intermingle, and influence one another to this day through the increased ease with which peoples and their foods and drinks can be transported around the world. At the same time, however, people are embracing elements of their traditional (or purportedly traditional) foodways as a means of reinforcing and sustaining cultural identities. In multicultural cities, this is true for both immigrant and native populations. It is thus that, for example, the immigration-driven flourishing of foreign foodways in Copenhagen has occurred alongside revitalised or possibly reinvented traditions of ultra-localism, most notably in the form of the so-called ‘New Nordic’ cuisine.

This conference will consider the ways in which food and drink traditions interact with one another and with the cultures among which they occur. Special emphasis will be placed on the role played by foodways in the maintenance and changing of identity.

About the conference

Foodways and Identity allows delegates to contextualise knowledge and engage with community members. On 18-20 November, delegates will explore Copenhagen’s foodways in practice. We will speak with local producers, retailers, and restaurateurs, but we will also dive into the diversity of food and drink traditions across Copenhagen’s various neighbourhoods. Delegates will get a great taste of Copenhagen identity: traditional Danish restaurants, Arab markets, hip organic café culture, the high and low cultures of the ‘New Nordic’ cuisine, old-fashioned Danish bars, outdoor Christmas markets, and much more. Delegates will also visit Tivoli Gardens, a historic amusement park that has developed into a key site for Danish identity building and cultural expression. On 21-22 November, conference presentations will be held at Union KBH (formerly called VerdenKulturCentret), Copenhagen’s world cultural centre.

How to propose a presentation

Presentations are welcome on all aspects of food and drink traditions from any cultures. Presentations last a maximum of 20 minutes, followed by around 10 minutes’ audience discussion. The extended deadline for abstracts is 15 August 2019. To propose a presentation, please fill out the presentation proposal form at

Registration & accommodation

The final deadline for registration is 31 August 2019, but it is possible that one or more registration categories will be completely booked prior to that date. Attendance at the conference proper is free for non-presenting delegates, but all presenting delegates must pay the conference registration fee.

You can register by filling out the registration form at The registration fee may be paid by credit card or bank transfer. Note that individuals resident in the EU as well as businesses/institutions resident in Denmark must pay VAT. Businesses/institutions in other EU countries and delegates from outside the EU do not need to pay VAT.

Categories of registration

Full Conference: Covers attendance at the walking trips in the city (18-20 November) and the conference presentations (21-22 November). Includes lunch and dinner on 18-22 November. Standard registration fee: 5500 Danish kroner (with VAT: DKK 6875).
Short Conference: Covers attendance at conference presentations (21-22 November). Includes lunch and dinner on 21-22 November. Standard registration fee: 2700 Danish kroner (with VAT: 3375).
Basic Conference: Covers attendance at conference presentations (21-22 April). Standard registration fee: 2000 Danish kroner (with VAT: 2500).


The conference will not be organising accommodation for delegates. However, we recommend that delegates stay at Ibsens Hotel in central Copenhagen. Ibsens Hotel will serve as our departure and drop-off point for conference activities, and the hotel is a leisurely 15-minute walk from the conference meeting venue, Union (formerly called VerdensKulturCentret). We can alternatively recommend Hotel Nora, which is located even closer to Union.

If you have any questions, please e-mail convenor Adam Grydehøj (

Convenors: Paul Hartvigson & Adam Grydehøj - Island Dynamics