Call for papers E|C n. 43, 2025 Strange Foods

Call for papers

E|C n. 43, 2025

Strange Foods


Edited by Mohamed Bernoussi (University Moulay Ismail, Meknès)

There are permitted foods and forbidden foods. Through both, each culture establishes a culinary identity (Douglas 1966) that defines it as an irreducible entity. But there are also foods in between: they are neither permitted nor forbidden, or forbidden for some and permitted for others, marginalised or tolerated for a minority under certain conditions. This is the case of wine in Muslim societies, but also of hashish pastes (al-majoune or al-m’aassel), of cannabis authorised by the state under certain conditions in Western societies, of love potions in their various forms, or of traditional medicine recipes to alleviate physical pain not alleviated by traditional medicine.

This cuisine, at the same time tolerated, secretive and sometimes even sinister, first interested medicine, pharmacology, demonology and esotericism (Muchembled 1979); semiotics has never been interested in it, except rarely or episodically (Eco 1990; Stengel 2024) and yet it can raise numerous questions concerning its semiosis, its narrative status, the types of relations established between its expressive plane and its content plane; for example, aphrodisiac recipes (Bernoussi 2024) or traditional medicine recipes (Eco 1990).

It also raises questions about culinary prohibitions and the exercise of power. This is the case, for example, of the paradox of wine in Moroccan and Arab-Muslim societies in general, which crystallises a permanent tension between authorising and forbidding, between monitoring and not punishing or doing so extemporaneously out of opportunism or pragmatism in order to remind us that, even when acting within precise legal frameworks, power has its own reasons that reason does not know. It is the regime of tolerating, which allows the exercise of real power, that is based on the discourse of guilt (Foucault 1975). To prohibit and at the same time tolerate encourages clandestinity and allows the exercise of power, whose main resource in this case is bad conscience.

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Fédération Romane de Sémiotique
Romance Federation of Semiotics
Federazione Romanza di Semiotica
Federação Românica de Semiótica