Italians and Their Food Businesses in Brussels, 1876–1914
By building on studies in the fields of anthropology, geography, history, and sociology, the present monograph analyzes the public foodways of Italian migrants in Brussels at the turn of the twentieth century as a way of exploring how migrants used the business of food to construct meaning and articulate sentiments of belonging. It describes and discusses Italian neighborhoods, migratory patterns, occupations, and food businesses (i.e. cafés, restaurants, shops, and peddling activities) by applying quantitative and qualitative methods of interpretation to archival, business, journalistic, and photographic sources. The study bridges a gap in the historiography of Italian food and migration by providing a Western European counterpoint to Italian experiences in North and South America and a thorough discussion of the forging of Italianness outside of Italy at a crucial time in that nation’s history. This book ultimately underlines the creative and innovative role migrants play in the social and cultural processes that shape human societies.
About the Author
Olivier de Maret teaches Food Studies at Syracuse University in Florence. His research interests cover the relationship between food, migration, and identity, the history of Italian foodways, food history, and food systems. He is a member of the research group FOST (Social & Cultural Food Studies) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel where he completed his doctorate.
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