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. It intends to stimulate debate and research that bridges the gap between different disciplines. Another aim is to transfer academic research to a wider public and stimulate research using the History of Food Collection of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The symposium is therefore targeted at both an academic and a professional audience.
The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food is the result of a collaborative partnership between 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.
Friday, 13 November – Saturday 14 November 2020
Venue: Aula of the University of Amsterdam
Singel 411, 1012 XM Amsterdam.
Registration will open in Spring 2020.
Programme will be published in Spring 2020.
Food and the Environment
The Dynamic Relationship Between Food Practices and Nature
Ever since hunters and gatherers made the switch to sedentary forms of farming some 13,000 years ago, the way people produce and consume food has profoundly shaped the world in which we live. Although the idea of the ‘environment’ – which we now use to describe the scale and scope of this human impact on the planet – is a relatively modern concept, historians, archaeologists and ecologists have carefully traced the continual interconnectedness of food and the environment. Indeed, changes in dietary patterns have been intrinsically linked to climate change and demographics throughout history, and the question of how to feed a growing population has been at the centre of major developments in food production innovations from the Neolithic Revolution onwards.
The concern about the limits of food production and consumption has similar long historical roots. Agricultural innovations and colonial explorations, which allowed humans to grow and eat more and more diverse foodstuffs, also prompted worries about the adverse consequences of rapid population growth and environmental degradation. From Thomas Malthus’ 1798 An Essay on the Principle of Population to the warnings of post-WWII scholars such as William Vogt and Paul Ehrlich – the concern that food production could and can never keep pace with population increase has been central to many heated scholarly debates. Although the 1960-1980s Green Revolution has thus far managed to avert a ‘Malthusian disaster’, worries about the intensive use of nature’s resources coupled with booming population growth continue to persist. At the same time, more people have become aware of the dynamic, two-way relationship between humans and their environment, and of the fact that natural conditions have always shaped and endangered human life. This year’s Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food traces this far-reaching transformative impact of food production and consumption practices on the environment – and vice versa – both in history and today.
Call for Papers
Please look here for the CfP: Call for Papers 2020.
Participants are free to make their own accommodation booking. Many hotels are situated in the vicinity of the conference venue in the Amsterdam historic city centre. The following website can be useful: www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting.
Allard Pierson | Collections of the University of Amsterdam
The Allard Pierson preserves and maintains the academic heritage of the University of Amsterdam. There are over a thousand sub-collections, comprising rare and valuable books, manuscripts, prints, photographs and much, much more. The collections serve educational and research purposes but are also there for the general public.
Amsterdam School of Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam
The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH) is a research institute of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam. The institute focuses on culture and history. Research is organized both along thematic lines (religion, the city, theatre, conflict, medicine), and in terms of periods in time (e.g. the classical period, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Golden Age, the contemporary period), which are studied from an interdisciplinary perspective (art, history, literature, music, theatre, etc.).
Rural and Environmental History Group, Wageningen University & Research
The Rural and Environmental History Group (RHI) is a chair group within the Social Sciences Department at Wageningen University & Research (WUR), which offers various courses in history to students of WUR and has a research program that is situated at the crossroads of rural, environmental, social, economic, and global history. The mission of the RHI is to offer temporal depth to societal debates and social theories on sustainable and equitable welfare development.
Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
FOST is a research group for social and cultural food studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The research group, founded in April 2003, works in collaboration with the Vlaams Centrum voor Volkscultuur, the Institut Européen de l’Histoire de l’Alimentation and the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique.
FOST aims at consolidating the expertise on foodstudies by inviting (foreign) specialists to workshops and colloquia, by operating within networks, by publishing and contemplating about food studies, and by performing new (multidisciplinary) food research.
For the details on the topics and the programme of the Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food of the past years please click on the titles:
The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food has been made possible with the generous support of the Amsterdam Universiteitsfonds, Amsterdam School for Historical Studies – University of Amsterdam, Bibliotheken Eemland, Carrera Culinair, CIRFOOD, Fontaine Uitgeverij, Hotel De l’Europe, Huizinga Instituut, LAM, Nijgh Cuisine, Rural and Environmental History Group, Wageningen University & Research, Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek, Uitgeverij Terra and Allard Pierson | Collections of the University of Amsterdam.