“Food, Relationships, Sociability: Nourishment as a Form of Sharing”

Target Audience: Students from UniTo, PoliTo, RIASISSU, and Collegi di Merito

Subject: Participation in the Roundtables of the Ferdinando Rossi Forum

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 15, 2024

Communication of Results: March 25, 2024

Event: April 17-19, 2024

Purpose of this Call

The Organizing Committee of the Ferdinando Rossi Forum issues this call for the selection of six abstracts, whose authors will participate in the roundtables of the Ferdinando Rossi Forum 2024.

Introduction to Forum 2024

“Tending Minds. Cultural Significance, Sustainability, and the Right to Food” is the title of the eighth edition of the Ferdinando Rossi Forum, dedicated to the relationship between humans and food. The discussion will cover various perspectives, drawing contributions from disciplines such as anthropology, semiotics, bioethics, social sciences, and life sciences. Starting with an essential analysis of quantitative aspects, such as the sustainability of the food supply chain, the conference will delve into the diverse functions and meanings associated with food, both in collective and individual imagination.

The conference will span three days, featuring experts on the topic and two moments of interaction between students from UniTo, PoliTo, and other university contexts. During these roundtables, students from the University of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Turin, or other outstanding Italian institutions (High University Schools part of RIASISSU and Collegi di Merito) will engage in discussions moderated by a Ph.D. candidate who will briefly present their research, fostering interaction among the participants.

Roundtable Theme

The act of nourishment is, for humans and other species, an experience that transcends the purely biological need for sustenance, becoming a social practice of sharing and openness towards others. Through commensality, a space of coexistence and mutual exchange is created around the table, extensively addressed by social sciences and humanities in ancient and contemporary forms. This ranges from Plato’s and Dante’s conviviality to modern mass consumption rituals in the globalized and foodified society. Even in the study of plant and animal species, forms of sociality related to the retrieval and consumption of nutrients have been highlighted.

Participants in the Roundtable are asked to reflect on how the production and consumption of food, as well as the associated imagery, either involve or exclude forms of sharing and sociability among individuals of the same or different species. The reflection can utilize a theoretical perspective, drawing on conceptual tools from disciplines such as philosophy, literature, and visual arts, as well as life sciences and psychology. It can highlight the diachronic evolution of the theme from a particular disciplinary perspective or offer a synchronic perspective, proposing the discussion of sector-specific results or studies.

Roundtable Execution for 2024

The 2024 edition includes two roundtables. The first will focus on the humanistic and social aspects, titled “human sciences”; the second will be dedicated to the technical-scientific aspects, titled “natural sciences,” in analogy with the division of the School of Advanced Studies of Turin. However, interdisciplinary contributions are encouraged.

During each of the two sessions, three students from the University of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Turin, or other distinguished institutions (High University Schools part of RIASISSU and Collegi di Merito) and a Ph.D. candidate under the selection of the Organizing Committee will engage in discussions. The moderation will be done by a student from the School of Advanced Studies “Ferdinando Rossi,” who will facilitate interaction with the audience. The roundtable aims to present, in about 7-10 minutes, a perspective on the topic expressed in the abstract of each student and a brief presentation of the Ph.D. candidate’s work in approximately 15 minutes. Following this, a debate will be opened with the audience and the roundtable on the issues raised by the presentations.

Number of Slots and Participation Requirements

This call is divided into two sections for a total of 6 abstracts: Section I will select 3 abstracts for the “human sciences” section; Section II will select 3 abstracts for the “natural sciences” section. The abstracts must, with an essential focus, open a perspective on the roundtable theme in light of the author’s academic background and interest.

Eligible for selection are abstracts written by university students enrolled in one of the outstanding Italian institutions (High University Schools part of RIASISSU and Collegi di Merito), the University of Turin, and the Polytechnic University of Turin. The committee reserves the right to vary the number of selected papers for each section in case of excess or shortage of eligible applications and based on their particular interest. Submissions from any undergraduate, graduate, or single-cycle master’s degree program at the mentioned universities or Merit Colleges are accepted. Works written by multiple authors will not be accepted.

Application Process

Submission of the abstract (max. 4000 characters including spaces) of an original presentation related to the roundtable question in paragraph 3 of this call is required. It should be accompanied by a minimal bibliography and followed by a brief biographical note about the author. This note can be submitted in the form of a letter (max. 1000 characters including spaces) or a short video (up to 1 minute). It should include the candidate’s age, university affiliation, and the degree program they are enrolled in, along with other information considered interesting for the selection by the candidate.

The abstract can be written in either Italian or English. The document must be submitted in PDF format to the email address of the Organizing Committee (comitato@forumferdinandorossi.it) no later than 3:00 PM on Friday, March 15, 2024.

Selection Committee

A committee of students, faculty, and Ph.D. candidates from the School of Advanced Studies “Ferdinando Rossi” at the University of Turin will review the submissions. Positive evaluations will be given to works that demonstrate particular originality and a thoughtful understanding of the issues related to the theme of this call. The results of the selection will be communicated only to the winners of the call via email by March 25, 2024.

Responsibilities for Selected Students

Selected students are required to participate in the roundtable of the Ferdinando Rossi Forum, which will take place in person on April 18 and 19, 2024. Here, they will have the opportunity to individually present their abstract and subsequently engage in discussions with each other on the roundtable question, opening the debate to the audience.

Organizational Notes on Event Execution

Any travel and accommodation expenses necessary for the in-person roundtable will be covered by the Organizing Committee.