Symposium

Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food

The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food is the annual international point of assembly and an exchange of knowledge in the field of Food history in the Netherlands.

Organised by Allard Pierson | Collections of the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam, the Rural and Environmental History Group, Wageningen University & Research and the research unit Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Date

Fri 15 November 2019 until Sat 16 November 2019

Venue Aula of the University of Amsterdam

(Post)colonial foodways; creating, negotiating, and resisting transnational food systems

Because of its manifold effects on individuals, cultures, and countries, from the 15th century onwards the colonial era had far-reaching impacts on existing foodways. Colonial rulers often imposed exploitative food systems upon the colonized, resulting in relationships that have been perpetuated, mediated, and resisted to this day. Because of their troubling and complex legacy, colonial foodways have become an essential theme in recent histories of transnational food production, consumption and trade practices from early modern mercantilism to the present. By shifting the focus from two-way colonizer-colonized relationships towards (post)colonial networks and their various nexuses, truly transnational histories are emerging that decenter Europe and go beyond traditional narratives.

Food history and (post)colonial history intersect in various ways. Theories about exploration and exploitation offer insights into (proto)capitalism and the consumption of commodities, the agency of populations in the Global South, the transfer of food technologies, and the ecological impact of restructuring and repurposing vast areas of land. Studying material culture and (post)colonial food customs, furthermore, advances an in-depth understanding of the historical negotiation of identities and ideologies. The hybridization of national and migrant cuisines, culinary (neo)colonialism, and shifting perceptions of gastronomic ‘authenticity’ all underwrite the continuing influence of the colonial era on how we speak about food and, subsequently, about ourselves.