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Utopian Apetites - Symposium of Australian Gastronomy

The 21st Symposium of Australian Gastronomy will be celebrated in Melbourne, Australia, from Friday 2 to Tuesday 6 December 2016. At this coming-of-age gathering of gastronomic scholars, writers and practitioners, we are looking with hope towards bright food futures with our guiding theme of ‘Utopian Appetites’.

The year 2016 also marks five centuries since the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia (1516). With its founding principles of desire, order, justice and hope, utopia represents a framework to think about gastronomy as both an imaginary ideal and a realisable goal for the future. The utopian theme encourages us to envisage the gastronomic project of eating well, bridging disciplinary boundaries, encompassing different spaces, practices, cultures and times. Confirmed participants include:

  • Darra Goldstein—founding editor of Gastronomica

  • Robert Appelbaum—Uppsala University, Sweden

  • Barbara Santich—food writer and emeritus professor, University of Adelaide

  • David Szanto—Eco-Gastronomy Project at University of Gastronomic Sciences

  • Stephanie Alexander—cook, food writer, and founder of the Kitchen Garden Foundation

  • Josh Evans—Lead Researcher, Nordic Food Lab

  • Annie Smithers—food writer and chef

We welcome submissions for original papers that explore real and ideal contexts of eating well – considered from historical, cultural, aesthetic, political, ideological, social, nutritional, environmental, religious, agricultural, philosophical, or any other perspectives. Australian gastronomy will be a feature of the programme but papers with an international focus are equally welcomed.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following: Gastronomy and the politics of hope Ecological utopias of past, present and future Utopian culinary histories Cockaigne, Lubberland, and realms of plenty Utopian desires and dreaming Food and farming in utopian and dystopian literature Utopian nature-cultures Food gardens, pleasures and paradise Governance, democracy and utopia Food sovereignty, social experimentation and revolutionary hopes for change Posthuman or postcolonial food imaginaries Intentional food communities and new modes for living well City and country connections and interdependency Outrageous, improbable and impossible food futures

We invite proposals from academics and independent scholars, artists and activists, cooks and chefs, journalists and writers, food producers and artisans in the form of panel discussions, presentations, literary reflections, manifestos, performances and interactive experiments relating to utopia and gastronomy. Please send enquiries and proposals 350 words or less along with a 100-word biography of the presenter/s before 15 May 2016 to the symposium committee: Kelly Donati (William Angliss Institute) – Jacqueline Dutton (University of Melbourne) – Notification of paper acceptance will be sent on or before 30 June 2016.

The Symposium will take place at William Angliss Institute and the University of Melbourne with a daytrip by bus to Central Victoria. The cost is $575 per person ($400 for students). This covers all food, wine and excursion costs. Travel to Melbourne and accommodation is not included. The conference will run from Friday evening to Monday evening which will conclude with the banquet dinner. Tuesday morning will be dedicated to discussing the theme and location for the next Symposium.

In keeping with the tradition of the Symposium of Australian Gastronomy, please come with a spirit of participation, indulgence and hope.

To stay up to date on new information and Frequently Asked Questions about the Symposium, please see the website: and join our Facebook group Symposium of Australian Gastronomy Associate Professor Jacqueline Dutton (French Studies) School of Languages & Linguistics University of Melbourne Convenor, Travel Research Network Director, Australian Festival of Travel Writing

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