Charlie’s research considers how studying food can address broader questions of economic and social history. He is particularly interested in how food systems and practices structure society and economy, as well as culture.
In September 2019, Charlie submitted his PhD thesis at Birkbeck, University of London. His thesis, ‘Selling food in the streets of London, c. 1600–1750’, combines incidental evidence of food hawking with regulatory records, print, music, and literary sources, to build a fuller history of irregular retail in the early modern city. To take the perspective of food hawkers, rather than city rulers or established retailers, the thesis is structured around a street vendor’s working day.
During his fellowship year, Charlie will develop research on immigrant food practices in eighteenth-century London and the use of licensing in the informal economy across early modern Europe. He will also begin expanding his thesis into a monograph, by developing comparisons with other European cities and placing his research in the context of the sociology and anthropology of food hawking today.