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Dietary Reform in Baltic and East Central Europe, ca 1850–1950: People, Ideas, Institutions and Objects

An international workshop supported by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES).

The aim of our one-day workshop is to bring together scholars from different disciplines to examine new avenues for interdisciplinary and transnational research on the history(ies) of dietary reform, with a specific focus on the Baltic region and East Central Europe, through the lens of dissemination, circulation, fusion and motion.

By focusing on people, ideas, institutions and objects, and using transnational and transimperial lenses, this workshop seeks to explore the ways in which the local, regional, the European, and the global are imagined and experienced from the perspective of dietary reform.

The workshop welcomes empirically informed and theoretical discussions on the issues of dietary reform across the region that include but are not limited to:

  • the pros and cons of meat consumption and
    plant-based diets: knowledge, science, medicine, nutrition, environment,
    economy, ethics, religion
  • vegetarianism, veganism, raw foodism as activism:
    people and infrastructure, ideas, practices, material goods and objects
  • meat, life reform and politics
  • historiographical silences and debates, gaps and myths, and methodological reflections on sources and the challenges of
    interdisciplinary knowledge production

An hour is devoted to each proposed topic for the workshop, whereas 30 minutes is allocated for Power-point presentation; 10–15 minutes – for an interaction between speaker and discussant; 15 minutes –
for a follow-up joint discussion.

Morning session

09.20 – 09.30 Opening of the workshop

09.30 – 10.30 Julia Malitska: “There is (No) Salvation Outside Our Church”: All-Russian Vegetarian Congress and the Making of the Vegetarian Movement in the early 20th-century Russian Empire

Discussant: professor Irina Sandomirskaja, CBEES, Södertörn University

10.30 – 11.30 Carolyn D. Taratko: Crops into Calories: Calculating Food Independence in Wartime Germany, 1914–1923
Discussant: professor Norbert Götz, the Institute of Contemporary History, Södertörn University

11.30 – 12.30 Paulina Rytkönen: Food Safety – a Key Component of Food Policies in Sweden, ca 1860–1950
Discussant: professor Christopher Collstedt, School of History and Contemporary Studies, Södertörn University

Afternoon Session

13.30 – 14.30 Anu Kannike and Ester Bardone: Blood and Grain! The Struggle for a Healthy Diet in Estonia in the First Half of the 20th century

Discussant: associate professor Helena Bergman, School of History and Contemporary Studies, Södertörn University

14.30 – 15.30 Albena Shkodrova: (Communist) Revolution and Continuity in Bulgaria’s 20th century Foodways

Discussant: associate professor Yulia Gradskova, School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University

15.30 – 16.30 Concluding discussion

Albena Shkodrova, PhD, is a historian and a journalist, an author of the best-selling in Bulgaria book Communist Gourmet (2014), and of Rebellious Cooks, which will be shortly published by Bloomsbury Academic (Spring 2021). Currently, she is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Social Movements in Bochum, Germany, and teaching Oral history and History of Poland at KU Leuven, Belgium. Her previous research groups were Modernity and Society (1800-2000) at KU Leuven and Social and Cultural Food Studies (FOST) at VUB. Between 2011 and 2018 she was the editor-in-chief of Bacchus, Bulgaria’s food and wine magazine. She maintains a database on the Bulgarian cookbooks, published before 1989, on a website www.albenashkodrova.comlänk till annan webbplats, öppnas i nytt fönster.

Anu Kannike, PhD, is a senior researcher at the Estonian National Museum. Her research focuses on the ethnology of everyday life in the 20th – 21st centuries. She has published the monograph “Home decoration as culture building” and is a co-author of the book “101 Estonian dishes and foodstuffs” and "100 years of everyday life in Estonia", as well as a number of articles on home, contemporary developments in folk culture and museum studies. She has edited several collections of articles on culture theory and is currently coordinator of food studies at the Estonian National Museum. With Ester Bardone she has co-authored several articles on food history, food heritage and contemporary food culture.

Carolyn Taratko, PhD, is a Research Associate and Lecturer at the Chair for the History of Knowledge. She joined the University of Konstanz in the summer term of 2020. She received her PhD in 2019 from Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation, "Feeding Germany: Food, Science, and the Problem of Scarcity, 1871–1923," examines the centrality of concepts of food security in modern Germany as it became a site of increased professional specialization within a globalized food system. It traces how nutritional science emerged as an important organizational innovation for rationalizing and managing the food supply and influenced ideas about food, feeding, and land use.

Ester Bardone, PhD, is a lecturer in ethnology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her research interests and publications focus on historical as well as modern food culture, rural entrepreneurship, critical heritage studies and tourism research. She has co-authored the book “101 Estonian dishes and foodstuffs”. Additionally, she has been involved in applied ethnological food research participating in regional as well as governmental projects and in teaching in adult education programs about heritage tourism and food tourism. With Anu Kannike she has co-authored several articles on food history, food heritage and contemporary food culture.

Paulina Rytkönen, PhD, is a senior lecturer in Business studies and an associate professor (since 2012) in economic history, with focus on entrepreneurship. PhD in economic history from Lund University (2004). Employed at Södertörn University since 2003. Main research interests are agro-food history, a vast area of research within which she has studied the impact of globalization and localization processes at global, national and local level, mainly within the wine, fruit and dairy industries; rural entrepreneurship and diffusion of innovations, both in historical and contemporary perspectives, as well as gender issues.

Julia Malitska, Ph.D, is a historian and an author of Negotiating Imperial Rule: Colonists and Marriage in the Nineteenth-Century Black Sea Steppe (2017). She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) conducting a research on the genealogy of dietary reform activism across the Russian empire from the 1860s till the 1920s. Her interests include the history of science and nutrition, as well as biopolitics in East Central Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The workshop is free of charge and open for public after registration. Please fill in the online registration formlänk till annan webbplats, öppnas i nytt fönster.

Tid och plats

07 maj 09:00-18:00


Room MA 796, CBEES, Södertörn University, hitta hit


Arrangeras av

the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University


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