UCL Anthropology


Feast and Famine: Exploring Relationships with Food in the Pacific

07 September 2012–08 September 2012, 9:30 am–5:30 pm


Event Information

Open to



Institute of Archaeology, UCL

Inaugral Pacific Islands Research Network Conference - UCL, 7th-8th September 2012

Conference organisers: Sarah Byrne (Institute of Archaeology, UCL) and Kaori O'Connor (Anthropology, UCL)

Feasting is the most resonant and powerful of all social practices in the Pacific Island region. Now as in the past, feasts are at the centre of Pacific society, serving as the arenas for the display of hierarchy, status and power; the negotiation of loyalty and alliances; the enacting of competition; the creation and consolidation of identity and the performance of public rituals that link the social and the political, the sacred and the secular. Both feasts and famines represent a research theme where ecology and economy meet, and where patterns of provisioning and consumptions, and resultant health and environmental aspects, manifest themselves.

This two day conference is organised by the newly established UCL Pacific Islands Research Network responds to the widening interest in the political, economic, cultural and health dimensions of feasting, food production and famine in the Pacific. This conference aims to provide a platform for more engaged dialogue between archaeology, anthropology, history, ecology, economics, epidemiology, health and medical studies, and food studies and the social and historical sciences more broadly.

The conference will present vanguard work in anthropological, archaeological, historical, literary, environmental and medical research, and discuss how it can contribute to a better understanding of society, health and food security in the Pacific islands - past, present and future.

This conference is kindly sponsored by the Institute of Archaeology and Mellon Foundation.