Faith in Food and Food in Faith: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dietary Practice

faithinfoodnetworkThis network approaches the study of food and dietary practice in the past through molecular archaeology, nutritional epidemiology, zooarchaeology, history of medicine and artefactual archaeology.

The three studentships are aligned to different fields and time periods within the network but each explores the relationships between food, health, religion, social status, migration and identity.

As part of a network the students will work together to enable inter-disciplinary engagement, for example, through a student-run conference. The network will create an invigorating environment for the production, exchange and dissemination of research on diet, drawing on strengths in both science and the arts & humanities.


The English/Italian project blog ‘Historic Foodscapes’ can be found here: https://historicfoodscapes.wordpress.com/


Network Lead:  Dr Michelle Alexander, University of York

Institution Student Studentship Topic Principal Supervisor Second Supervisor
York Alice Toso Diet and nutrition in medieval Portugal Dr Michelle Alexander (Archaeology, York) Dr Iona McCleery (History, Leeds)
Leeds Holly Hunt-Watts Food and nutrient intake in low income families: a comparative study Professor Janet Cade (Food Science and Nutrition, Leeds) Professor Dawn Hadley (Archaeology, Sheffield)
Sheffield Veronica Aniceti Animal husbandry in Sicily during the Islamic-Christian translation, 8-12th Century. Dr Umberto Albarella (Archaeology, Sheffield) Professor Martin Carver (Archaeology, York)

The studentships focus on three regions of Europe where political, economic and technological change occurred at different times. In the medieval Iberian Peninsula and Sicily, Muslim rule across several centuries brought innovative animal husbandry techniques, irrigation technology, new technical vocabularies and new foods such as citrus fruits and sugar cane, with long-term nutritional impact.

In the 19th-21st centuries, urbanization, industrialization and migration all affected diet, income, education and public health in many parts of Europe. In all these periods and places, certain food stuffs had a continuous history of use, leading to the creation of extensive beliefs and related health problems.