History, De Montfort University
My research positions the burger as a symbol of ‘Americana,’ a concept that alludes to a postwar world of economic success and overabundance. Using an interdisciplinary framework that draws on ideas from food and health studies, I will explore the wide-reaching impacts of this dish on public health, identity, and economy as it traverses urban foodscapes in the US and the UK. As both countries face an alarming obesity crisis linked to accessible and affordable fast food, I will pay particular attention to the historical marketing of the burger as it was introduced into Britain, and the ways in which it has come to represent the acceptance of American capitalism.
The globalisation of popular, patriotic working-class meals such as the burger provides a rich backdrop to explore questions of culture and power as nations interact through the intimate medium of food. I therefore aim for this piece to offer a uniquely transnational approach to the history of a single food item which has become a central part of everyday life in Britain.