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Feeding, Educating, Dieting: a Transnational Approach to Nutrition Discourses in Children’s Narratives (Britain and Italy, 1850-1900)

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "FED" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: DORSODURO 3246
postcode: 30123

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Italy [IT]
 Total cost 183˙473 €
 EC max contribution 183˙473 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-07-01   to  2021-06-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITA CA' FOSCARI VENEZIA IT (VENEZIA) coordinator 183˙473.00


 Project objective

‘Feeding, Educating, Dieting’ (FED) is a comparative qualitative analysis of mal/nutrition narratives, i.e. images of characters eating/fasting, in 1850-1900 British and Italian children's literature. Adopting a new historicist and discourse theory approach to comparative reading of British and Italian narratives, the project examines nineteenth-century trans/national discourses about child mal/nutrition and assesses children’s literature’s role in circulating these discourses. Child mal/nutrition is an increasingly concerning health issue in Europe, which prompted the EU to draw the Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020. Concern for this transnational issue can be traced back to the late-Nineteenth century, a definitional moment for national identities. Countries with different histories and food cultures addressed the idea of growing a healthy nation looking at the raising middle-class values in a process that engaged food, health, and literature. Using England and Italy as a case study, FED examines a selection of 1850-1900 Italian and British narratives to develop a framework to analyse the circulation of nineteenth-century child mal/nutrition discourses through children's fiction, highlighting their transnational nature. This framework will outline the core features of characters eating/starving in the selected narratives and unpack how these conveyed dominant discourses about gender roles, social power, and the healthy body/mind. As an expert in the application of new historicism and discourse theory to Victorian fiction, in FED I apply my main theoretical framework to the traditional comparative approach used in children’s literature studies to increase our understanding of how literature and food culture merge in national identity discourses. On a larger scale, FED promotes discussion on how literary studies can address current European issues such as child mal/nutrition and promotes international collaborative research on the topic.

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