In the past ten years, food research has gained tremendous interest in the humanities and social sciences. Sociologists, anthropologists, economists, historians, art historians, social geographers, linguists, philosophers, archaeologists, ethnologists, and social and cultural theorists devoted attention to the seemingly banal acts of shopping, cooking, eating and drinking. This was characterized by a myriad of approaches and themes, which comprised social and economic policy, health concerns, identity formation, sociability, inequality, signification, and globalization.
As of the 1970's, the Department of History of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel plays an important role in this research field, in Belgium and on an international level.
In recent years, colleagues from other departments have shown vivid interest in food studies, and today this expertise is present in various departments of the university. This attention and qualification led to the submitting of several research proposals dealing with food studies.
What is FOST?
These researchers wanted to institutionalize the expertise by setting up a new research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Therefore, in April 2003, FOST (Social & Cultural Food Studies) was founded.
FOST works in collaboration with the Flemish Interface Centre for Cultural Heritage (FARO) , the Institut Européen de l'Histoire de l'Alimentation and the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique.
FOST aims at consolidating the expertise by inviting (foreign) specialists to workshops and colloquia, by operating within networks, by publishing and contemplating about food studies, and by performing new (multidisciplinary) food research. This multidisciplinary, internationally rooted base guarantees a diversity of approaches, methodologies and theories around a common research field.