Classical Studies Presents ... Jeremy McInerney
Department of Classical Studies is pleased to present Jeremy McInerney, University of Pennsylvania.
"A Seat at the Table: the Greeks and their Foodways"
Sociology Psychology, Room 127
Thursday, October 17th, 11:45am-1pm
Traditional approaches to Greek foodways look to land-use, crops, and consumption and rarely consider feasting. In turn, feasting is usually approached via performance, display, and the mediation of social positions and status but without practical considerations. Is the food consumed at a feast distinct from other foods and prepared differently? Did a banquet consist of more than eating and drinking? In this paper I contrast physical dimensions of the feast with the consumption of staples. Separating feasting and luxury consumption emphasizes the mimetic quality of the feast as a human institution recreating a divine event: the feast of the gods. Against Burkert and the origins of sacrifice in Hunter-Gatherer societies I argue that the feast is the tain of the mirror of sacrifice, a reflex of Greek society's pastoral roots. Sensible as a distinct alimentary system for producing, processing and consuming meat, the feast is also a structuring cultural event that situates humans in relation to gods, animals, and other humans.