Food is a biological necessity that we ingest every day, but which touches on a massive variety of human experience, from the quotidian to the profound. Food products and consumption are contested markers for communal and individual identities, with interacting dynamics of regional, national, and ethnic identities colliding with globalization. Food security is an issue of grave concern globally, regionally, and in Singapore, in an era of inequality, scarce resources, ecological disruption, fragile supply chains, and international competition. Food production and security interact with recent technological developments, such as gene editing and the internet of things.
In light of these and other challenges, there are pressing questions over the ethics of the consumption of certain foods, such as specific species, meat in general, or those foods “appropriated” from other cultures. Patterns of food production, consumption, and trade have influenced and been influenced by broader historical trends. At the same time, food is a powerful symbol, occupying a central place in literary and religious experiences.
The strength of food studies lies in its interdisciplinary topic, fields, and methodology. Interviews, observations, textual and visual analysis, material culture, media studies, quantitative and qualitative methods, food history, ethnography, and experiential methods are examples of common research methods to food studies.
This Food Studies Research Cluster aims to examine food in the different disciplines of the humanities, but also to be informed by perspectives from the social and natural sciences.
Join the NTU School of Humanities Food research cluster as we explore complex and interdisciplinary questions surrounding food.
Coordinator: Keri Matwick, PhD
The Food Studies research cluster team consists of interdisciplinary scholars from the School of Humanities with specialties in linguistics, communication, history, environmental studies, and politics.
- Quarterly discussions on readings, documentaries, etc.
- Research collaboration on grant proposals and projects
- Grant writing and paper workshops
- Guest lectures
- Field trips to food-related sites (farms, restaurants, hawker centres, food production sites, food plants, agricultural sites, food artistry, food museum exhibits, food performances)