Call for Papers 2017 Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food

16 January 2017

Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam will host the Fourth Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food on 17 – 18 November 2017. This year’s topic: Making Sense of Taste.

The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food is the result of a collaborative partnership between Special Collections (UvA), the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (UvA) and the research unit Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Making Sense of Taste

From which angle does a scholar approach the concept of taste? Is it primarily an objective, chemical quality, or should it be considered a product of culture? And are these perspectives wholly incompatible? The physical quality and flavour of food and drink preoccupy molecular biologists, gastronomic professionals, and bon vivants. Chemists, among others, construe classification systems, aspiring to help us understand the complexity and the possibilities of flavour. Mediators and their audiences may oftentimes embrace subjectivity, by detailing their intimate and embodied experience of taste. Neither approach is new: historically, classification systems have had major cultural and religious significance, whereas the conception of ‘good’ food – as opposed to ‘bad’ food – and its application in mechanisms of social distinction is at least as old as class-based societies themselves. Clearly, discussions about taste have always been informed by an array of physiological and psychological experiences, not just our palates. We invite proposals on this complex notion of taste: its characteristics, its cultural evaluation, and its history.

Topics

We invite abstracts for papers covering any topic related to the (historical) study of taste including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The physiology and representation of taste
  • Taste, power, and social relations
  • Authentic versus artificial flavours
  • Taste, emotion, and memory
  • Individual versus collective taste(s)

 

Published by  Amsterdam School of Historical Studies