ArticlePDF Available

The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism

Reviewed Work(s): The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer
Review by: Bruce Kraig
The American Historical Review
, Vol. 102, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 85-86
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association
Stable URL:
Accessed: 15-11-2016 17:52 UTC
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted
digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about
JSTOR, please contact
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at
Oxford University Press, American Historical Association
are collaborating with JSTOR to
digitize, preserve and extend access to
The American Historical Review
This content downloaded from on Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:52:35 UTC
All use subject to
Reviews of Books
HUGH CUNNINGHAM. Children and Childhood in Western
Society since 1500. (Studies in Modern History.) New
York: Longman. 1995. Pp. 213.
Hugh Cunningham's aim is to trace the development
of the belief that children are "real" children only in so
far as their experiences are compatible with a partic-
ular set of views about childhood. He begins with a
careful critique of current scholarship, which has vir-
tually imprisoned the history of childhood within the
history of sentiments, thus confining it to the domestic
arena rather than locating it within wider political and
social worlds. It has also been a largely parent-cen-
tered history. Cunningham intends to restore the
balance. He distinguishes between children as human
beings and childhood as a shifting set of ideas, pointing
out that the challenge for scholars is to untangle the
relationship between children and childhood and how
this changed over time. The connection between public
action and thought and private experience should set
the agenda for future research.
Cunningham argues that continuity in ideas about
and treatment of children is the key throughout the
medieval and early modern periods, with Christianity
supplying the crucial influence. The emergence of a
secular view of children and childhood in the eigh-
teenth century, aided and abetted by John Locke,
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the Romantic poets, re-
sulted in a significant change in conceptualization and
treatment "from a prime focus on the spiritual health
of the child to a concern for the development of the
individual child" (p. 62). Child-rearing became a mat-
ter of allowing natural growth rather than of bending
twigs to the desired shape. The period of childhood
was viewed as an important time, and, moreover, a
time that should be happy.
From 1750 onward, central governments increased
their involvement in programs for poor children, de-
signed initially to produce children who would be of
service to the state. By the late nineteenth century,
however, the concept of child saving became the new
rallying cry, accompanied by a separation of the child
and adult world. No longer were children to be inured
to labor; they were to be saved for the enjoyment of a
childhood, a period of life to which all children were
entitled. Children lost any productive role within the
economy, becoming consumers instead. Parents re-
sponded by having fewer children but valuing them
more as individuals and for emotional reasons. The
root of present-day angst about childhood, Cunning-
ham argues, can be found in the disjuncture between a
public discourse that argues that children are people
with rights to a degree of autonomy, implying a fusion
of the worlds of adult and child, and the lingering
remnant of the romantic view that the right of a child
is to be a child, implying a cleavage.
This is a thoughtful, well-written survey, although it
is heavily weighted to the period from 1800 onward.
Despite the opening critique, the survey of early
modern society is kept firmly within the terms of the
original debate. The work is really an English-centered
account of the rise and spread of the Romantic
conception of childhood. This makes the text cohesive,
but it leaves the impression of a sweeping tide of
homogenous change slowly taking in all classes and
both genders. Even though Cunningham is scrupulous
enough to point out the limitations of the ideas of
Rousseau and the Romantic movement, the middle-
class ideal becomes the ideal of childhood, and thus the
value and importance of contrary views are marginal-
ized, the different importance placed on childhood in
earlier periods or by different cultures (portrayed here
as sub-cultures resistant to change) is given short
weight, and the costs of the ideal, albeit touched on,
are not fully explored.
Tulane University
COLIN SPENCER. The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vege-
tarianism. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New
England. 1995. Pp. xiii, 402. $29.95.
Colin Spencer's work joins a growing number of
volumes dealing with topics in food history. Many
historians and philosophers have dealt with ideologies
in which vegetarianism plays a role, but there have
been few large-scale books written about the ideal
itself through time. Like Reay Tannahill's well-known
Food in History (rev. ed. 1988), this one belongs to the
popular history genre. Like its predecessor and despite
This content downloaded from on Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:52:35 UTC
All use subject to
86 Reviews of Books
its flaws and polemical tone, this is a brave attempt to
tackle an important part of food and culinary history.
Non-meat diets-a more apt description than "veg-
etarianism," a term first coined in the 1840s-have
stemmed over time from one or more major causes.
Almost all have to do with religious or secular ideol-
ogies. Among them are notions of purity of body,
purity of spirit, separation of an individual or group
from others, and aversions to killing living beings for
Notions of purity historically arose from ascetic
impulses exemplified by the Buddha, Christians such
as Tertullian, and the Cathars. Food preferences/
taboos have always been means of social and personal
segregation from societies at large; many professing
vegetarians have been accused of thinking themselves
morally superior to others. Repugnance for shedding
blood might derive from theories of metempsychosis
(held by Pythagoras among others) or more secular
ethical considerations for the suffering of nonhuman
Other reasons for eating wholly or mainly vegetable
diets are poverty or scarcity. While claiming to exclude
involuntary vegetarianism from his survey, Spencer
cannot keep the subject from emerging, especially
when discussing impoverished farmers and industrial
workers of the last century. These groups illustrate a
main theme of the book: vegetarians have been viewed
as outside the boundaries of normal or respectable
society, that is, heretics.
Using mainly secondary and some original sources,
the discussion begins in prehistory and ends in modern
times. It is composed largely of summaries of major
figures or movements that have featured or provided
background ideologies for vegetarianism. Spencer
roots the long line of vegetarian thought in Pythagoras,
whose doctrines are claimed to have had great influ-
ence not only on classical thought but also that of
medieval and modern Europe, ancient Persia, and
perhaps India. This assertion reveals a familiar form of
popular historical thinking. Intellectual enlightenment
that began in ancient Greece was mostly, but not
entirely, subsumed by Christianity. St. Paul is given
special blame/credit for establishing an exploitative,
Judeo-Christian concept of human supremacy over the
natural world. Except for several heretical sects (Cath-
ars in particular) and a few ascetics (St. Francis), the
world of medieval Europe was darkened by ignorance
of humanity's true relationship to nonhuman animals:
medievals tortured and ate them wherever and when-
ever they could. Light dawned again with the Renais-
sance rediscovery of classical thought, including
Pythagorean theories, and after that the Enlighten-
ment (save for Descartes, whose "clockwork" vision of
the universe made animals into unthinking machines
for human use). From this seedbed rose "humanism"
(meaning humanitarianism toward other animals) in
the eighteenth century, followed by the modern era in
which many ideologies compete with one another for
human minds, souls, and even existence. A final ques-
tion states the book's case: "If we had accepted other
animals as our equals ... would the world's natural
resources have been so depleted?" (p. 343). In its
individual parts, this volume will interest students of
food history and perhaps specialists in specific areas.
Roosevelt University
SIMON COLEMAN and JOHN ELSNER. Pilgrimage: Past and
Present in the World Religions. Cambridge: Harvard
University Press. 1995. Pp. 240; 81 plates. $29.95.
Pilgrimage entails acts of imagination as well as spa-
tial, temporal, and spiritual displacements. ln tracing
sacred travels from fifth-century B.C.E. Greece to the
Holy Land in the late twentieth century and from
monotheistic traditions to those of Indian religions
and the Buddhist world, Simon Coleman and John
Elsner propose a novel journey of the mind. Their aim
is to reconceptualize pilgrimage in terms of cultures of
sacred movement rather than merely to think about
religions with scripturalist/theological imperatives for
performing ritual voyages. A study of pilgrimage
across the ages and through so many sacred (and
profane) geographies demands multiple lenses and
voices. Thus, numerous disciplinary approaches are
brought to bear on the topic: anthropology, history and
art, religious studies, and sociology. Prefaced by a
short introduction devoted to "Landscapes Surveyed,"
seven chapters deal with the classical world and Jew-
ish, Christian, Muslim, Indian, and Buddhist pilgrim-
ages. Each of these core chapters grapples with a
central problem in the literature on pilgrimage: for
example, the relationship between piety and identity in
the- Greco-Roman world or sainthood in Christianity.
Folded within the textual treatment are photographs
and illustrations of the monumental structures that
have, over the centuries, beckoned pilgrims to their
sides, icons, ritual souvenirs embodying the sacred visit
and visitor, popular shrines, and processions. These
are grouped together under rubrics such as "living
saints," "mapping the sacred," or "the sacred site." In
an innovative approach, the authors have juxtaposed a
photograph of Padre Pio, a Capuchin monk venerated
by thousands of Catholic pilgrims as a holy man, with
an image of the Dalai Lama receiving homage as a
charismatic leader. The reader is invited by both the
visual juxtapositions and the accompanying text to
consider or re-imagine living saints from dissimilar
cultural-religious traditions in disparate settings. But
what of the pilgrim, either a solitary seeker of spiritual
perfection or the participant in a collective human
venture (and adventure) involving masses of the faith-
ful assembled in a highly ritualized performance?
Much to their credit, Coleman and Elsner have woven
personal narratives and accounts of the pilgrim's
progress from the mighty and humble alike. We hear
of the travels of Paula of fourth-century Palestine,
refracted of course through the prism of St. Jerome's
This content downloaded from on Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:52:35 UTC
All use subject to
... The debate on vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism qualifies as a surrogate comparison between Western and Eastern cultures (Sengupta 2010). Other historical works have also portrayed vegetarianism in India as an age-old practice that is generally cultivated from birth and associated with tradition, power and status (Spencer 1993;Preece 2008). Furthermore, Indian vegetarianism is also thought to be influenced by cultural values of asceticism and purity through the avoidance of bodily pollution associated with meat consumption. ...
Full-text available
Never before in human history have vegetarianism and a plant-based economy been so closely associated with sustainability and the promise of tackling climate change. Nowhere is this phenomenon more visible than in India, which is home to the largest number of vegetarians globally and where vegetarianism is intrinsic to Hinduism. India is often considered a global model for vegetarianism. However, in this book, which is the outcome of eight months of fieldwork conducted among vegetarian and non-vegetarian producers, traders, regulators and consumers, I show that the reality in India is quite different, with large sections of communities being meat-eaters. In 2011, vegetarian/veg/green and non-vegetarian/non-veg/brown labels on all packaged foods/drinks were introduced in India. Paradoxically, this grand scheme was implemented at a time when meat and non-vegetarian food production, trade and consumption were booming. The overarching argument of the book is that a systematic study of the complex and changing relationship between vegetarian and non-vegetarian understandings and practices illuminates broader transformations and challenges that relate to markets, the state, religion, politics and identities in India and beyond. The book’s empirical focus is on the changing relationship between vegetarian/non-vegetarian as understood, practiced and contested in middle-class India, while remaining attentive to the vegetarian/non-vegetarian modernities that are at the forefront of global sustainability debates. Through the application of this approach, the book provides a novel theory of human values and markets in a global middle-class perspective.
The vampire of folklore, like its offspring in cinematic and literary productions and popular culture, is an undead creature of the night who drinks, by preference, human blood to survive. However, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the vampire’s diet was redefined by the emergence, in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (2005), of the so-called ‘vegetarian’ vampire, who abstains from consuming human blood. The ‘vegetarian’ vampire chooses to slake its thirst with animal or synthetic blood and/or to access human blood in ways that do not harm the human from which it is drawn. This introductory chapter considers the emergence of the vegetarian vampire and provides a brief review of the scholarship on the vampire’s changing diet, as well as explaining the focus and organisation of the rest of the volume.KeywordsVegetarianismVampires Twilight Animal-blood dietAnthropocene
The chapter focuses on hunger and cannibalism in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. In the novel, hunger is not only a metaphorical, socio-cultural and emotional phenomenon; it is a very urgent, real and biological need. On the other hand, the refusal to eat can be a sign, not just of a wish for spiritual strength or holiness, but also of a loss of the will to live. The chapter examines rituals of storytelling and meal sharing that are crucial in the formation of human embodiment, community and identity, not only in the sense of biological survival.KeywordsMargaret Atwood MaddAddam HungerCannibalismStorytellingRitual
The chapter introduces Atwood’s speculative fiction and discusses the hybridization of genres in her novels. Atwood sees literary genres as porous and she maps the fertile hybridization of utopias and dystopias, slipstream and fantasy. In this context, the food element can be a map of the complex maze of intertextual layers and hybrid genres in her works, it signals shifts and also crossing/subverting of genre boundaries. Her relationship with the science fiction and/or speculative fiction genres, radical cross-pollination with popular genres and engagement with themes of food and survival seem to have become key foci for the late twentieth and twenty-first-century writing.
Throughout the MaddAddam trilogy, Atwood critiques insubstantial environmentalism and meditates on radical ecological movements to warn us about the future that our greedy consumerism and aggressive destruction of nature is leading us towards. In the second volume, The Year of the Flood (2009), Atwood uses themes of food and eating, especially the theme of hunger, to reinforce her critique of rampant consumerism. The chapter explores how food and its production become a marker of a social, gender and religious group as well as means of political resistance.KeywordsMargaret Atwood The Year of the Flood GenderReligionVegetarianismHealing
Conference Paper
Akreditasyon çok sayıda ülkede ve sektörde topluma yönelik olarak sunulan program ve hizmetlerin kalitesinin, niteliğinin, verimliliğinin ve etkililiğinin sistematik bir yaklaşımla güvence altına alınması için geliştirilen bir yöntemdir. Bu nedenle akreditasyon eğitim alanında da önemli bir yere sahiptir. Çünkü eğitim, hem toplumların hem de insanlığın gelişimini ve devamlılığını sağlayan en önemli alan olarak görülmektedir. Özellikle eğitim sistemlerinin uygulayıcısı ve lokomotifi durumunda olan öğretmenlerin eğitimi ve bu eğitimin kalitesi ülkelerin geleceği açısından son derece önemlidir. Buna bağlı olarak öğretmen yetiştirme politikaları, gelişmiş ülkelerin gündeminde öncelikli olarak yer almaktadır. Öğretmen eğitimi ile ilgili konuların küresel düzeyde gündemin en üst sıralarında yer alması, öğretmen eğitiminin kalitesini arttırma ile ilgili çalışmalara uluslararası yönde bir hız kazandırmaktadır. Dolayısı ile öğretmenlik eğitimi programlarının değerlendirilmesi ve akreditasyonu konusu daha fazla önem kazanmaktadır. Öğretmen eğitiminin niteliğinin arttırılması ve bu niteliğin güvence altına alınması, sürekli bir iç ve dış denetimle sistemli olarak yürütülmesi, ilgili kesimlere (veliler, öğrenciler, okullar vb.) öğretmen eğitiminin belirli standartlara dayalı olarak yürütüldüğünün güvencesinin verilmesi yalnızca etkili bir akreditasyon sistemi ile sağlanabilir. Etkili bir akreditasyon sistemi geliştirebilmek veya mevcut akreditasyon sisteminin niteliğini arttırmak için farklı ülkelerdeki öğretmenlik eğitimi değerlendirme ve akreditasyon kuruluşlarının incelenmesi gerekmektedir. Ancak ilgili alan yazın incelendiğinde bu konuyla ilgili çalışmaların oldukça sınırlı olduğu görülmektedir. Özellikle Türk eğitim sisteminin şekillenmesinde önemli etkileri olan, akreditasyon alanında büyük bir kazanım elde etmiş ve öğretmen eğitimi programlarının akreditasyonu konusunda önemli ilerlemeler kaydetmiş Fransa’yla ilgili akreditasyon konusunda herhangi bir çalışmanın yapılmaması önemli bir eksiklik olarak görülmektedir. Buna bağlı olarak bu çalışmada Fransa'daki öğretmenlik eğitim programları değerlendirme ve akreditasyon kuruluşlarının incelenmesi amaçlanmıştır. Çalışma kapsamında: 1. Fransa’daki öğretmenlik eğitimi programlarına yönelik olan akreditasyon kuruluşları nelerdir? 2. Mevcut akreditasyon kuruluşlarının amaçları nelerdir? 3. Akreditasyon süreci nasıldır? 4. Standartları ve başvuru şartları nelerdir? 5. Bu akreditasyon kuruluşlarının Fransa eğitim sistemi için önemi nedir? 6. Fransa’daki ve Türkiye’deki öğretmenlik eğitim programlarının daha etkili şekilde değerlendirilebilmesi ve akredite edilebilmesi için neler yapılabilir? gibi sorulara yanıt aranmıştır. Çalışmada elde edilen bulgulara dayalı olarak hem Fransa’daki hem de Türkiye’deki öğretmenlik eğitim programları değerlendirme ve akreditasyon kuruluşlarına yönelik öneriler sunulmuştur. Ayrıca çalışmada elde edilen veriler doğrultusunda Türkiye’de yükseköğretimde öğretmen eğitimine yönelik yapılan uygulamaları geliştirmeye yönelik öneriler getirilmiştir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Öğretmen Eğitimi, Öğretmenlik Eğitim Programları, Akreditasyon, Fransa.
Conference Paper
İçerisinde bulunduğumuz yüzyıl, bilim ve teknolojide yaşanan hızlı gelişmelere bağlı olarak toplumsal yaşamda pek çok değişimi ve gelişimi beraberinde getirmiştir. Ayrıca salgın hastalıklar, küresel ısınma, yoksulluk, savaş, terör ve göç gibi küresel sorunların artması dünyada çok sayıda probleme neden olmuş, bu durum insan yaşamını olumsuz etkilemiştir. Bu gelişmeler toplumsal süreklilik için sorumluluk sahibi olan, bilgiyi üreten, paylaşan, doğru bilgiye erişebilen, demokratik ve evrensel değerleri özümsemiş nitelikli insan gücünün gerekliliğini arttırmıştır. Ancak nitelikli insan yetiştirmek nitelikli bir eğitim ile mümkündür. Nitelikli eğitim ise nitelikli öğretmenlerin yetişmesi ve eğitim sistemine dâhil olması ile sağlanabilir. Bu nedenle değişen ihtiyaçlar ve dünya düzeni doğrultusunda öğretmenlik mesleği, öğretmenlik mesleğinin önemi, yeterlikleri ve rolleri her toplumda güncelliğini koruyan en temel eğitim konuları arasında yer almaktadır. Buna bağlı olarak öğretmen yetiştirme, pek çok ülkede olduğu gibi Türkiye’de de eğitim sisteminin en öncelikli çözüm bekleyen alanlarından biri olmuştur ve olmaya devam etmektedir. Bu sorunun başarılı şekilde çözümlenebilmesi için diğer ülkelerin öğretmen yetiştirme konusundaki deneyimlerinin, bu konuyla ilgili geçmişlerinin ve günümüzdeki mevcut durumlarının araştırılması ve incelenmesi büyük öneme sahiptir. Avrupa’nın önde gelen ülkelerinden biri olarak kabul edilen Fransa, 1789 Fransız İhtilali’nden itibaren bütün dünyayı pek çok alanda etkilemiştir. Türk eğitim sisteminin şekillenmesinde de önemli etkileri olan Fransa’nın öğretmen yetiştirme konusundaki geçmişi, deneyimi ve bu konudaki mevcut uygulamaları merak konusu olmuştur. Ancak ilgili alan yazın incelendiğinde bu konuyla ilgili yapılmış çalışmaların çok sınırlı olduğu ve güncel olmadığı görülmüştür. Bu çalışmada, Fransa’da öğretmen yetiştirme konusu incelenmiş, öğretmen yetiştirme sürecine tarihsel gelişimi içerisinde bakılmış, bugünkü öğretmen yetiştirme uygulamalarının güçlü yanları ve sorunları ortaya konmuştur. Çalışmada elde edilen bulgulara dayalı olarak hem Fransa’daki hem de Türkiye’deki öğretmen yetiştirme uygulamalarına yönelik çözüm önerileri geliştirilmiştir. Araştırma, nitel temelli bir araştırma olarak tasarlanmış, çeşitli resmi metinler, ikinci el kaynaklar ve bilimsel çalışmalar doküman incelemesi yöntemiyle incelenmiştir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Öğretmen Eğitimi, Öğretmen Yetiştirme Programları, Eğitim Tarihi, Fransa.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.