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Cultures of Food and Gastronomy in Mughal and post-Mughal India

Narayanan, Divya

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Abstract

This dissertation is an interdisciplinary and transcultural study of food cultures in Mughal and post-Mughal India between the sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. Using historical as well as anthropological tools of analysis, and drawing on a variety of documentary and manuscript sources in Persian, English and Hindi, it seeks to unravel various facets of the linkages between food, society and culture in the regions of the Indian subcontinent under the political sway or cultural influence of the Mughal Empire. Under this broad thematic umbrella, the dissertation analyses the manner in which food mediated relationships of power and acted as a symbol of social discourse within the Indo-Persian and Indo-Islamic cultural worlds. It traces the development of Mughal politico-cultural instruments of legitimacy that involved the use of food as a key symbol. This entails a deconstruction of prevalent cultures of consumption and connoisseurship, as well as the manner in which views of food were shaped in medical knowledge and lore. In particular, it is shown that the culture of connoisseurship engendered within the Indo-Persian ecumene was patron-consumer oriented and represented a masculinisation of food discourse, wherein the role of women in the creative processes of food production as well as in the articulation of taste was conspicuous by its absence. The dissertation also includes an examination of the broad patterns of dietary change that occurred in the early modern period as vegetables from the New World such as tomatoes, potatoes and chillies entered the Indian subcontinent via Europe and were subject to a process of culinary indigenisation. Cross-cultural comparative analyses, particularly with reference to Europe as well as to the Islamic Middle East and Central Asia, also form an integral part of this work.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Dharampal-Frick, Prof. Dr. Gita
Date of thesis defense: 15 May 2015
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2015 12:26
Date: 2015
Faculties / Institutes: Service facilities > South Asia Institute (SAI)
Subjects: 950 General history of Asia Far East
Controlled Keywords: Ess- und Trinksitte, Ernährungsgewohnheit, Ethnohistorie, Mogulreich, Südasien
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