Virtual Global Conference: April 22-24
Popular and scholarly interest in Chinese food has exploded since the original publication of K. C. Chang’s 1977 edited volume, Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives, yet the resulting field of endeavor has not yet grappled collectively with the questions of what makes Chinese food modern and why this matters. The past four decades since the publication of Chang’s volume have been marked by monumental social, political, and economic changes in the People’s Republic of China and in many other Chinese-speaking polities and communities. It is high time, now, for a critical reexamination of Chang’s central claim about continuity—five thousand years of a durable Chinese food culture—in order to carve out a more prominent intellectual space for consideration of its modern forms: What marks Chinese food as modern? When do these changes occur? What are the most significant factors influencing these changes? Equally, how do we account for continuities in culinary practices and dispositions across temporal, geographical, and political divides? How do we reconcile premodern and modern Chinese foodways, and articulate their complex relationship?
Roundtable: Fifty Years of Chinese Food Studies
April 23, 2021
2:00 - 3:30 PM EDT
As the first major English-language attempt to think seriously about food in Chinese culture, Food in Chinese Culture (Yale 1977) represented an important milestone for what has become a lively, but also fragmented field of modern Chinese food studies. Francesca Bray, James Watson, E. N. Anderson, Françoise Sabban, and David Wu, will participate in a round-table session that looks back on the past fifty-years of English-language research on Chinese foods and foodways, how it has changed, and what excites them about its future trajectories. All five of these scholars have helped define the field of Chinese food studies through their interdisciplinary contributions to history, anthropology, environmental ecology, and sinology.
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