Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2017

Making Sense of Taste

17Nov2017 18Nov2017

Symposium

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.

Registration is now open.

Published by  Amsterdam School of Historical Studies