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This new midsize project is a collaboration between researchers from the Humanities, Social and Behavioural, and Medical faculties, including the English Department’s Dr Emelia Quinn. It harnesses diverse areas of expertise to understand the prominent role of meat in past and contemporary diets.

Reducing meat intake has clear and undisputed benefits for climate, population health and animal welfare. However, eating meat is deeply embedded in people’s diets, anchored in cultural values, meanings, and in shared conventions around what is believed to be healthy, tasty, or sustaining. For many people it is hard to imagine a predominantly plant-based diet becoming the norm. However, new narratives that respect historic, cultural, economic, health and social values around people’s diets and the role of meat in particular can aid this transition.  

The focus of the project is on examining key narratives surrounding food and eating, with the aim of suggesting new narratives and learning from best practices in the past and present. Ultimately the project aims to contribute to new societal norms and ways of (thinking about) eating meat, and thereby to healthy sustainable diets for human society and the planet as a whole.

For this project, the team will be recruiting two postdocs who will work closely with each other. Each will have a specific focus: one with a background in the humanities and experience in historical research; the other with a background in anthropology and/or public health with experience in qualitative research. If you’re interested please contact Emelia Quinn ( for more information.

Dr. E.J. (Emelia) Quinn

Faculty of Humanities

Capaciteitsgroep Engelse taal en cultuur