Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies
Panayur, Chennai – 600 119

National Conference on Human Civilization and Dietary Practices

September 22 & 23, 2017

Concept Note:

Food has always been one of the most natural instincts, a basic drive and a primeval quest of mankind. Over many years of social evolution food practices have developed, evolved and have transcended the structural boundaries laid by the different communities that have come together in constituting the society that we live in today. Dietary practices have come to represent and reveal an individual or a community’s perceptions, values and other political or ideological affiliations. Dietary concerns and preoccupations are no longer the sole concern of disciplines such as culinary sciences and nutritional sciences. For over the past few decades food has come to be the central point of key academic discussions holding various topics of contestations across disciplines such as Anthropology, Gender Studies, Literature, Sociology, Religious Studies, Culture Studies and Environmental Studies. It is the interdisciplinary nature of food networks that enables one to induct the subject of food into research that is ever growing in terms of its complexities and importance. With this spirit in mind applications for paper presentations and publication are invited addressing issues related to any of the following areas or combining them (not necessarily inclusive only of the themes mentioned below.)


  • Food, Environment and Ecology
  • Gender and Food
  • Literature and Food
  • Health, Medicine and Food
  • Food, Religions and Rituals
  • Food and Folklore
  • Food and Tourism
  • Globalisation, Consumer Market and Food
  • Food, History and Memories
  • Nation State, Food Security and Food Resource Management
  • Food- Laws and Ethics
  • Food- Communities and Commodities
  • Class/Caste, Hierarchy and Food
  • Food, Media and Communication
  • Food, Music and Arts
  • Food and Philosophy
  • Food, Ideology and Politics
  • Food and Geo-Politics
  • Culture, Hospitality and Food
  • Bio-Sciences, Bio-terrorism and Food

A National Seminar on

Intoxicants in India: Past and Present

Inter-Disciplinary Explorations

Organized by Asian Centre for Cross-cultural Studies, Panayur on 4-5, October 2016

Call for Papers:

Intoxicants have been part and parcel of human living from time immemorial.  They have been an integral part of the personal, social, economic, political, cultural, and religious life of humanity across space and time.  They are of different kinds.  If we consider them as substances which are intended to modify mental states, they are usually categorized under three types: 1) alcohol, 2) opium, 3) Cannabis (John Frederick Logan, “Intoxicants and Literature,” Yale French Studies, No. 50, 1974).  Alcohol is the distilled variety like wine, beer, brandy, arrack, toddy, etc.; opium is the variety of heroin, morphine, laudanum; and, cannabis the marijuana products.

Such varying types of intoxicant substances have been and are fulfilling different functions in human persons and communities.  Psychologically, they are used and abused as props for management of stress, depression, and so on; socially, they stand both for power and hierarchy as well as for powerlessness and marginality; culturally, they serve as the medium of festivities, bonding,  saturnalia, etc., as well as signs of cultural degeneration and moral decadence; politically, they have been and are used by the dominant to maintain their power, even while paralysing the growth of their supposed opponents; religiously, they have been proscribed for their non-spiritual and unethical implications on the one hand, and have played the dubious role of inducing ecstasy, altered states of consciousness, etc., on the other.

These varying functions of intoxicants are a matter of concern not only for morality in private and public life, but also for understanding the very human behavior which generates a space for intoxicants in personal and social life.  Such an understanding can be best pursued in an inter-disciplinary manner, bringing in insights from humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.   This seminar attempts to do this in the context of the history and culture of India.

Probable Topics:

  • Profiling Intoxicants in India
  • History of the Use of Intoxicants
  • Culture and Intoxicants: Anthropological Perspectives
  • Temperance Movements and Social Reforms
  • Social Implications of the Use of Intoxicants
  • Religion rituals and intoxicants
  • Impact of the use of intoxicants on Personality development
  • Public Morality and Use of Intoxicants
  • Politics of Intoxicants
  • Criminality and Intoxicants
  • Medical Practice (traditional and modern) and Intoxicants
  • Colonialism and opium trade
  • Economy and trade on drugs and violence

Submission of Proposals for Papers:

  • Studies could be presented either in panels or individually
  • Every individual presenter will get 20 minutes for presentation; panelists will be allotted timing on the basis of 20 minutes per person
  • Last date for submission of proposals is 08 August 2016; proposals will be peer reviewed, and decision will be announced by 15 August 2016; full papers are expected by 30 September 2016.
  • Paper presenters will be given food and accommodation; expenditure for travel will be borne by paper presenters themselves

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