Tasting Religion - Graham Harvey

Graham Harvey [+-]
Open University
Graham Harvey is Professor of Religious Studies at the Open University, UK. His research is concerned with the performance and rhetoric of identities among Jews, Pagans and indigenous peoples. He is particularly interested in the 'new animism', embracing relational and material approaches to interactions between humans and the larger than human world. His recent publications include The Handbook of Contemporary Animism(2013) and Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding Religion as Everyday Life (2013).
Aldea Mulhern [+-]
California State University, Fresno
Aldea Mulhern is assistant professor of method and theory in religious studies at California State University, Fresno, USA. She researches food and religion among minoritized communities, particularly Jews and Muslims in North America, who engage with the local, organic, and ecological food movements internationally. Before arriving at Fresno State, Aldea lectured on the study of religion and the anthropology of religion at the University of Toronto, and taught at Grand Valley State University in Michigan as visiting assistant professor of cultural diversity and intercultural communication. She serves on the steering committee of the Food and Religion Unit of the American Academy of Religion, and is a member of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, and participant in NASSR and the IAHR. Her article on “Eating Jewishly” appears in SCRIPTA, the journal of the Donner Institute for Comparative Religion, and she is currently working on her first book, a comparative ethnography of food work in female-led Jewish and Muslim communities in Ontario, Canada.


The introduction by the editors provides an entry point to the field. It provides some reminders of familiar themes – those food rules, ritual meals, cultural preferences and abstentions. It seeks to do this in interesting ways, e.g. providing a vignette of what foods different Muslims might share for Iftar rather than blandly stating that Ramadan is a time of fasting. It sets out what has been achieved in previous scholarship about religion and foodways, e.g. pointing to foundational or required reading in the area, perhaps tracing a feast from Mary Douglas’ Purity and Danger (1966) via Caroline Walker Bynum’s Holy Feast and Holy Fast (1988) to Devon Mihesuah and Elizabeth Hoover’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health (2019). Even in pointing to these works, the introduction emphasizes the complexity not only of religiously-inflected foodways but also of understanding “religion” and “culture,” “health” and “transcendence” and more. It places the volume in relation to multi- and inter-disciplinary scholarship of food (production, consumption, waste, sovereignty, sustainability, etc.). In addition to encouraging a fuller conversation about the different interests of particular disciplines, the introduction crucially highlights the diversity of approaches and methods that might be applied in studying taste and religion.

Notify A Colleague


Harvey, Graham; Mulhern, Aldea. Introduction. Tasting Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2024. ISBN 9781000000000. Date accessed: 31 May 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44083. Feb 2024

Dublin Core Metadata