A Frugal Crescent. Perceptions of Foodways in the Ottoman Empire and Egypt in Nineteenth-century Vegetarian Discourse

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This article shows shows how and why perceptions of foodways in the Middle East played an important role in debates on vegetarianism in nineteenth-century Germany, where the region appeared as an epitome of frugality.
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  2019128 [Dmitriev] 015-Hauser-proof-01 [version 20190515 date 20190603 09:37] page 292 ©   , ,  | :./_  AFrugalCrescent  Perceptionsof FoodwaysintheOttomanEmpireandEgyptin Nineteenth-CenturyVegetarianDiscourse  Julia Hauser  The history of organized vegetarianism, which emerged in Europe by the mid-dle of the nineteenth century, has long been written about within an exclu-sively Western, if not national, framework. Indeed, it is often inscribed intoa specically Western narrative of modernity, in which vegetarianism servesas a “technology of the self,” (Foucault) fashioning bodies and selves in conso-nancewithsocialDarwinistvisionsof modernity.Yetwhileargumentssuchasthese were doubtlessly put forward by advocates of vegetarianism in Germany,Britain,andtheUnitedStatesattheturnof thetwentiethcentury,acloserlook   Adam D. Shprintzen,  The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement,1817–1921  (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013); Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska,  Managing the Body: Beauty, Health, and Fitness in Britain, 1880–1939  (Oxford: Oxford Uni- versity Press, 2011); James Gregory,  Of Victorians and Vegetarians: The Vegetarian Movement in Nineteenth-Century Britain  (London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2007); Florentine Fritzen, Gesünderleben.DieLebensreformbewegungim20.Jahrhundert   (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2006); CeriCrossley, ConsumableMetaphors:AttitudestowardsAnimalsandVegetarianisminNineteenth-Century France , French Studies of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Oxford: Lang,2005); Karen Iacobbo and Michael Iacobbo,  Vegetarian America: A History  (Westport, :Praeger,2004);MichaelHau, TheCultof HealthandBeautyinGermany:ASocialHistory,1890–1930  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003); Colin Spencer,  Vegetarianism: A History (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002); Eva Barlösius,  Naturgemäße Lebensführung. Zur Geschichte der Lebensreform um die Jahrhundertwende  (Frankfurt: Campus, 1997); Wolf-gangR.Krabbe, GesellschaftsveränderungdurchLebensreform.Strukturmerkmaleeinersozial-reformerischenBewegungimDeutschlandderIndustrialisierungsperiode (Göttingen:Vanden-hoeck & Ruprecht, 1974); Jakob A. Klein, “Afterword: Comparing Vegetarianisms,”  Journal of South Asian Studies  31, no. 1 (2008). Klein rightfully observes a divide in research on vege-tarianism in Europe and North America, on the one hand, and Asia, on the other: Klein,“Afterword,” 199–212. The sole exceptions are the monographs by Tristram Stuart and LeelaGandhi, which discuss, though not exhaustively, the inuence of India and Indian protago-nists on vegetarian discourse in Europe: Stuart,  The Bloodless Revolution: RadicalVegetariansand the Discovery of India  (London: Harper, 2006); and Gandhi,  Afective Communities: Anti-colonialThought, Fin-de-SiècleRadicalism, and thePolitics of Friendship , Politics, History, andCulture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006). Michel Foucault, “Technologies of the Self,” in  Technologies of the Self. A Seminar with Michel  Foucault  , ed. Luther H. Martin, H. Gutman, and P.H. Hutton (Amherst, 1982). Shprintzen,  Crusade ; Zweiniger-Bargielowska,  Body ; Hau,  Cult  .  2019128 [Dmitriev] 015-Hauser-proof-01 [version 20190515 date 20190603 09:37] page 293      at contemporary treatises and periodicals arguing for a meatless diet showsthat the history of Western organized vegetarianism was shaped by inuencesand appropriations from well beyond Europe.Transnational networks and references to foodways in other parts of the world were central to vegetarian discourse. On the one hand, organized veg-etarianism was coterminous with nineteenth-century processes of globaliza-tion, including mission and colonialism, on whose knowledge production itdrew liberally. On the other hand, and based on the knowledge generatedin these very contexts, vegetarianism was often justied by referring to sup-posedly homogeneous alimentary geographies. In addition to digressing onfood and ethics in Buddhism and Hinduism, British and particularly Germansources dwelled on the allegedly frugal foodways embraced by inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire and Egypt.In this paper, I discuss why the Ottoman Empire and Egypt played a rolein vegetarian discourse in Germany and look at how these sources feed into acriticalhistoryof vegetarianisminthenineteenthandtwentiethcenturies.Per-ceptions of foodways in the Ottoman Empire and Egypt in nineteenth-century  vegetarian discourse testify to the importance both of transgressing and main-taining boundaries in vegetarian discourse—to the universalist gesture at itsheart as much as to an implicit exclusionism on various levels that so far hasbeenlittleacknowledged.Theprincipalsourcesusedincludetractsonvegetar-ianism, travelogues and geographical literature, and articles from the  Vereins- Blatt für Freunde der natürlichen Lebensweise  (Magazine for friends of naturalliving), the journal by the rst German vegetarian association.The referencesto the Ottoman Empire and Egypt found in these sources are contextualized withcontemporaryresearchonthehistoryof foodandfastingintheseregions,as well as with a few exemplary sources from the region, inter alia, a Greek Orthodox sermon on fasting from the late nineteenth century, an article on WesternvegetarianismfromtheEgyptianculturalperiodical  Al-Muqtaṭaf  ,andan autobiography by a Greek Orthodox Christian that discusses the practice of fasting.  The  Vereins-Blatt für Freunde der natürlichen Lebensweise  (later  Thalysia ) was issued by the Verein für Freunde natürlicher Lebensweise (Vegetarianer) (Association of Friends of Nat-ural Living [Vegetarians]), founded in 1867 in Nordhausen by Eduard Baltzer, a Protestanttheologian and head of a nondenominational parish. On this journal, see Dagmar Glaß,  Der Muqtaṭaf und seine Öfentlichkeit. Auklärung, Räson-nement und Meinungsstreit in der frühen arabischen Zeitschriftenkommunikation  (Würzburg:Ergon, 2004).  2019128 [Dmitriev] 015-Hauser-proof-01 [version 20190515 date 20190603 09:37] page 294    1 OrganizedVegetarianisminEurope:Class,Religion,GlobalVisions To understand why and how alimentary geographies, among them referencesto the Ottoman Empire, came to play an important role in European vegetar-ian discourse, it is instructive to recapitulate when, why, and in which socialcontext organized vegetarianism in Europe emerged. Abstention from meat had been debated in Europe well before the nine-teenth century. As shown by Tristram Stuart, it had been discussed by Protes-tantreligiousdissentersandphilosopherssinceearlymoderntimes,frequently  with reference to precursors in ancient Greece and India, as a means of dis-ciplining mind and body. In medicine, its merits had been extolled as well.Enlightenment physicians such as Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, whose con-cept of macrobiotics owed much to his readings of ancient Greek medicine,had recommended a vegetarian diet. So had eighteenth-century French physi-cians who considered supposedly vegetarian “primitive people” to reect hu-mankind in its “natural” state. British physicians working in India toward theend of the eighteenth century had advocated rejecting meat for the sake of healthandlongevity.Meat,theyallconcluded,inamedthepassions,gaverisetoharmfulprocessesof putrefactioninsidethebodyandweakenedit,andthusfor more than one reason increased the likelihood of dying early.But while vegetarianism had indeed been advocated earlier, it was only inthe nineteenth century that it assumed the character of an organized move-ment. Based on interactions between protagonists in Britain and the UnitedStates, organized vegetarianism emerged around the mid-nineteenth century.The place where the rst vegetarian association was founded, in 1847, was ahub of the Industrial Revolution in a growing empire, a city characterized by impressive warehouses but also abject poverty and squalor: Manchester.Other cities in Britain followed suit, and so did other countries, like Prus-sia. While vegetarianism in German-speaking regions had been propagated well before, with the political radical Gustav Struve celebrating it in his India-inspired epistolary novel  Mandaras Wanderungen  (Mandara’s Journeys, 1843),  Stuart,  Bloodless Revolution , 180–251. Detlef Briesen,  DasgesundeLeben.ErnährungundGesundheitseitdem18.Jahrhundert  (Frank-furt: Campus, 2010), 28; Emma C. Spary,  Eating the Enlightenment: Food and the Sciences in Paris  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 23–28; E.M. Collingham,  Imperial Bodies:The Physical Experience of the Raj, c. 1800–1947  (Cambridge: Polity, 2001), 26–27. Twigg, “Vegetarian Movement,” 83–88; Gregory,  Of Victorians and Vegetarians , 30–50. In heranalysis of the animal welfare movement in Britain, Mieke Roscher likewise underlines theurban character of the movement. Roscher,  EinKönigreichfürTiere.DieGeschichtederbritis-chenTierrechtsbewegung  (Marburg: Tectum, 2009), 34.  2019128 [Dmitriev] 015-Hauser-proof-01 [version 20190515 date 20190603 09:37] page 295      it was only twenty years after its emergence in Britain that vegetarianismassumed any organized character in Prussia, when Eduard Baltzer’s  Verein für  FreundedernatürlichenLebensweise  (Association of Friends of Natural Living) wasfoundedinNordhausen,Thuringia,in1867.German-speakingEuropeandBritain constituted the two most important bases of organized vegetarianismin Europe well into the twentieth century. While organized vegetarianism remained a quantitatively small phenome-non, it addressed a number of urgent contemporary transformations, which will be discussed here briey: an increasing distance from nature, the wearingaway of the body in an age of industrialization, fears of change in social hier-archies, and an increasing closeness—in terms of transport, communication,and imperial connections—to other parts of the world.From the nineteenth century onward, relations in Europe between humanbeings and animals underwent a number of transformations, a developmentthat, due to industrialization and urbanization, rst manifested in cities.Meat became more afordable and easier to consume as a result of transfor-mations in agriculture and, subsequently, in transport and slaughter. Large-scale abattoirs were established at urban peripheries. Exotic animals becameobjects of entertainment for a mass audience in zoos and circuses. As a con-sequence of these transformations, certain kinds of animals became objects of afection. In many middle-class households, pets advanced to become mem-bers of the family. Newly founded associations dedicated themselves to ani-  Gustav von Struve,  MandarasWanderungen , 3rd ed. (Leipzig: Struve, 1906). On the developments outlined in this paragraph, see also Roscher,  Königreich , 63–68. MassimoMontanari, TheCultureof Food  (Oxford:Blackwell,1994);HansJürgenTeuteberg,“The Birth of the Modern Consumer Age: Food Innovations from 1800,” in  Food: The His-tory of Taste , ed. Paul H. Freedman (London: Thames & Hudson, 2007), 238–239. Boris Loheide, “Beef around theWorld:  DieGlobalisierungdesRindleischhandelsbis1914 ,” Comparativ  17, no. 3 (2007); Paula Young Lee, “The Slaughterhouse and the City,”  Food & History 3,no.2(2005);DorotheeBrantz,“AnimalBodies,HumanHealth,andtheReformof SlaughterhousesinNineteenth-CenturyBerlin,”  Food&History 3(2005);LukaszNieradzik,“Körperregime Schlachthof. Tierschlachtung und Tierbäder im Wien des 19. Jahrhun-derts,”  Body Politics  2, no. 4 (2014). Eric Baratay and Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier,  Zoo: A History of Zoological Gardens in theWest   (London: Reaktion Books, 2002), 147–197, 386–392. Roscher,  Königreich , 63–64. Hilda Kean, “The Moment of Greyfriars Bobby: The Changing Cultural Position of Ani-mals, 1800–1920,” in  A Cultural History of Animals , vol. 5,  In the Age of Empire , ed. Kath-leen Kete (Oxford: Berg, 2007); Kathleen Kete,  The Beast in the Boudoir: Petkeeping in Nineteenth-Century Paris  (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).  2019128 [Dmitriev] 015-Hauser-proof-01 [version 20190515 date 20190603 09:37] page 296    malwelfare.Vegetarianism,atonceasymptomof agrowingdistancebetweenhumans and animals and an attempt to bridge it, clearly addressed these con-cerns.Industrializationalsoproducedanewkindof urbanlowerclasswhosemem-bers relied on their bodies as their chief source of capital. Working conditionsandeconomicprecariousnessputheavystrainsonthem.Soontheseconditionsbecame the object of middle-class social reform. As social reformers main-tained, it was not just the type and duration of work, but also housing condi-tions and inadequate nutrition, that contributed to their misery.Workers werebelieved to be prone to alcoholism, smoking, and licentiousness. Vegetarian-ism appeared to be the panacea for all these ills. If workers could be inducedto abstain frommeat, or so advocates of vegetarianismargued, then the “socialquestion” could be solved. Although this argument was prominent among vegetarians in both Germanand British contexts, Eva Barlösius argues that German-speaking middle-class vegetarians from the late 1860s onward were also obsessed with fears of down- wardsocialandeconomicmobility.Vegetarianism,adietwhosepotentialinex-pensiveness contemporaries did not tire of emphasizing, seemed to ofer asolutiontothepurportedlytighteningpursesof partsof themiddleclasswhilelikewise disciplining those middle-class minds and bodies.Encounters with other parts of the world, whether immediate or on a dis-cursive level, played an important part in the emergence of vegetarianism, with the alleged treatment of animals in India frequently evoked as a model  Roscher,  Königreich ; Miriam Zerbel,  Tierschutz im Kaiserreich: ein Beitrag zur GeschichtedesVereinswesens  (Frankfurt: Lang, 1993). AccordingtoRichardBulliet,itwasonlyinanurbanenvironmentwhereanimalsbecameincreasingly invisible, a condition he refers to as “postdomesticity,” that human beingscould harbour the illusion of no longer depending on them for their sustenance and socould consider rejecting meat. Bulliet,  Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers: The Past and  Future of Human-Animal Relationships  (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), 15–19,27–34.Apartfromtheremovalof animalsfromthedomesticsphere,Bullietsees“post-domestic” attitudes toward animals as inuenced by the emergence of Darwin’s theory of evolution,whichturneddiferencesbetweenhumansandanimalsinto“simply…amatterof degree.”Ibid.,197.Ininterpretingvegetarianismasanineteenth-andtwentieth-century phenomenon only, however, Bulliet ignores earlier reections on meat abstention, mostnotably those in ancient Greece, as examined in Pedro Martins’s contribution to this vol-ume. EduardBaltzer,  DienatürlicheLebensweise,derWegzuGesundheitundsozialemHeil  (Nord-hausen: Förstemann, 1867), 65–66;T.S. Nichols,  HowtoLiveonSix-PenceaDay:Vegetarian Meal Planning  (London: Nichols & Co., 1878), 45. Barlösius,  Naturgemäße Lebensführung , 164–171.
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