Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Food studies and Irish Studies stem from the same ‘studies’ phenomena and share many similarities in their journeys from the margins to becoming established academic disciplines. A common feature of the new academic studies movement, whether French, gender, postcolonial, cinematic, African, Irish or food is their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature. They become more than any one discipline and scholars within these new fields continuously investigate from various angles, often adopting ‘self-reflexivity’ as an approach. Stereotypical postcolonial notions of the drunken or ‘stage Irishman’, or food’s association with the quotidian domestic, and therefore, feminine, led some academics up until relatively recently to dismiss either as worthy of any form of serious study. However, with the advent of the cultural turn in the 1970s, whether you were interested in medicine, literature, poverty or religion, each could be studied by applying either an Irish or a food lens. Moreover, recent research has argued that a food studies lens could be insightful to the field of Irish Studies and that a ‘gastrocritical’ reading of canonical writers such as Seamus Heaney or Maria Edgeworth might prove revelatory. This chapter will compare the journey by Irish Studies and food studies to becoming established disciplines, discussing the key figures, journals, courses, conferences, and encyclopaedias associated with both. It will identify early outliers of food themes within the Irish Studies canon in addition to traditional sources, track the growth of food studies in Ireland, particularly in the last decade, and make suggestions where future Irish Studies scholars might adopt a food studies lens.


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