Introduction Halal Pizza: Food and Culture in a Busy World1


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    This special issue had its origins in the ‘Eat Me!’: An Anthropological Examination of Food panel, convened by Kalissa Alexeyeff and Roberta James at the Australian Anthropological Society (AAS) Annual Conference held at La Trobe University, Melbourne, in 2001. Most of the papers presented here were originally offered during that panel. The exceptions are contributions by Megan Warin and Karen Westmacott. A version of the paper which Megan Warin presented during the original panel, ‘Miasmatic calories and saturating fats: fear of contamination in anorexia’ can be found in the journal, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry (Warin 2003). We are grateful to Megan for her second contribution to this project. We would also like to thank the convenors of the 2001 AAS conference for facilitating the productive work of the panel, TAJA editors for their patience and our referees for their useful insights. A personal thanks also to the staff at the Sahara Pizza Café Lounge, Sydney Road, Brunswick, for providing the coffee and ambience for the production of this paper. The conveners are especially grateful to Mandy Thomas for agreeing to join them in the editing task when the enterprise was in danger of collapse due to multiple commitments.


This article introduces a collection of seven papers that offer anthropological examinations of contemporary food-related practices in the Australasian-Pacific region. The collection is based on those presented in the panel ‘Eat me! An anthropological examination of food’ at the Australian Anthropological Society Annual Conference, La Trobe University, Melbourne, 2001. I set out the ethnographic terrain of food in processes of contemporary Australian cultural production, introduce the articles and then briefly discuss the three key themes of the collection. These are the trajectory of grand processes, such as colonialism, in the intimate movements of daily life; the reproduction of social forms via socialities relating to food and commensality; and the (sensory) manifestation and embodiment of epistemes (such as gender) in food- and consumption-related values and practices.