This work was selected as an Outstanding Contribution to Undergraduate Scholarship and presented at the John Hazen White School of Arts & Sciences Annual Academic Symposium on May 2, 2013. Ashley VanderWeele's work was nominated by Dr. Wendy Wagner.


Feasts are a time of community unity, a time of imposed order even if chaos abounds. Feasts can be for celebratory reasons, they can be of a religious nature, and as Samuel Pepys points out, they can help mend rifts among people at odds with one another. Even when feasts have celebratory or religious purposes, they may also involve political matters. A monarch, for example, may host a feast to celebrate his wedding, but, while celebrating the joyous royal union, the guests are also celebrating the political union of two kingdoms. Many times a king marries to strengthen his kingdom and ruling power, not for love. His wedding feast is actually a political act.

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