Jakub Sawicki, M.A.

Contact:

k.sawicki@gmx.de

Project:

"Food Cultures in Modern Post-war Europe. A Comparative Analysis of the Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic and People's Republic of Poland 1965-1975"

Project Description:

Eating as an activity belongs to the everyday life of each human being and is, therefore, a classic topic of anthropology. Seen from the historical perspective, questions such as where, what and how was eaten develop fields of research in the historical sub-disciplines regarding everyday life, culture, consumption, transfer, migration and gender.

Focusing on the three basic questions where, what and how was eaten, this Ph.D. project offers a comparative analysis of three Central European States, namely the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), German Democratic Republic (GDR) and People’s Republic of Poland (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa, PRL) during the years 1965-1975.
Questions such as “Why did the Western Germans suddenly start eating Pizza?, Was the raise of egg-consumption in the GDR motivated by politico-economic reasons? and Where and what was eaten in the PRL as a common lunch?” shall be answered with the aim of examining the daily behavior patterns of the broader levels of the population.

To minimize universal typifications this study focuses on the perspective and the expectations of the contemporaries during the period 1965-1975. This enables the comparison of the socio-economic asymmetries between the rising FRG and the socialistic GDR and PRL, which were both suffering under system-based shortages, without neglecting the political and economical differences between the three states. Crossing the "iron curtain", the daily processes shall be compared and examined, asking which developments were due to system-based, civilizing or cultural-traditional effects.

Despite the establishment of new and different political and social orders the FRG, GDR and PRL experienced the same changes including urbanization, industrialization of the food production and an internationalization of the food habits.

The decade from 1965-1975 is special as it is not characterized, as the years before and after that, by the popular contrast of wealth and shortages.

In all three states considered in this study, the first post-war generation reached adulthood during the 1960s. They were the first ones to be born and raised within the new borders and socialized in the new political systems. The food habits of this generation are an important base to examine the change and the continuity of traditional food habits in the frame of the cultural development during this time period.

The following leading questions shall frame this study:

  • To what extent were the post-war founded socio-economic structures of the three states responsible for the respective food habits?
  • In what way did changing gender roles influence the food habits in the respective societies?
  • How did experiences of tourism and immigration impact the food habits of FRG, GDR and PRL?

Short Biography:

Born 1980 in Lublin (Poland). 2004-2011 Studies of History, East European History and Political Science at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg/Germany and Adam-Mickiewicz-University Poznań/Poland. Magister-Thesis: "The Warsaw
Palace of Culture and Science in the People's Republic of Poland Public View." 2011-2013 worked as project manager, speaker, translator, interpreter and language mediator in Germany and Poland.

Since January 2014 Ph.D. on the topic: "Food Cultures in Modern Post-war Europe. A Comparative Analysis of the Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic and People's Republic of Poland 1965-1975." Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Martin Schulze Wessel.