Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2019

Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2019

Friday, 15 November – Saturday 16 November 2019,  Aula of the University of Amsterdam, Singel 411, 1012 XM Amsterdam.

Symposium fee: €90 (until 15 September €75)
Reduced fee: €45 (students, Friends of the Special Collections UvA).



(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. 


Friday 15 November 2019

09.00–10.00        Registration and coffee

10.00–10.05        Welcome Marike van Roon

10.05–10.30        Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend

10.30–11.00        Keynote lecture by Katarzyna Cwiertka

11.00–11.10        short break

11.10–12.40        Panel 1 – Transatlantic legacies of slavery

Chair: Karwan Fatah-Black

  • Ilaria Berti – Sugar, Slaves, and Food: The Emergence of a Fusion and Cuisine in the West Indies Colonies (19th century)
  • Debby Esmeé de Vlugt – Searching for Roots in African Soil: Black Power and the Politics of Heritage Cooking
  • Laura Kihlström & Dalila D’Ingeo – Institutional Racism and the Geneology of Food Insecurity in the US South

12.40–13.00        Intermezzo: Postcolonial foodways in the Netherlands

  • Lenno Munnikes & Joris Vermeer – Post-colonial eating out of the wall: Two different stories of the Loempia

13.00–14.00        Lunch break

14.00–15.30        Panel 2 – Nationalist policy and (de)colonisation

Chair: Peter van Dam

  • Rachel B. Herrmann – Food Diplomacy, Victual Imperialism, and Victual Warfare: A Food Studies Model for Vast Early America
  • Sebastiaan Broere – “Freedom means Rice”: Food Production as a Marker of Postcolonial Independence in Indonesia, 1945-1967
  • Arnoud Arps – Trading New-Amsterdam for a Spice Island: Nutmegs, Dutch food history and the spirit of Indonesian nationalism

15.30–16.45        Coffee & Tea break

16.45–17.30        Prize-giving ceremony of the 2019 Johannes van Dam Prize and the Joop Witteveen Prize

Saturday 16 November 2019

09.00-09.30         Registration

09.30–10.30        Panel 3 — Pursuits of the postcolonial food industry

Chair: Iva Peša

  • Lola Wilhelm – «Africa must feed Africa»: Nestlé’s participation in imperial and postcolonial food engineering experiments in West Africa, 1950s-1960s
  • Noa Berger – Representing the (post)colonial: Addressing the tension between colonial heritage and ethical concerns in the French specialty coffee market

10:30–11:00        Coffee & Tea break

11.00–12.00        Panel 4 – Representing the nation: authenticity and appropriation

Chair: Adriana Churampi Ramirez

  • Suzanne Cope – Feeding the Revolution: Two Case Studies on the Use of Food as a Weapon of Resistance in Contemporary (Post)colonial North America
  • Catarina Passidomo – Peruvian Gastrodiplomacy: Cuisine as nation-brand in post-colonial contex

12.00–12.20        Wrap-up – Marlou Schrover

12.20-12.30         Closing remarks and topic for 2020

Afternoon Programme of the Foodie Festival at the Allard Pierson UvA (festival starts at 13.00; registration for this event will start in September)


The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food is the annual 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 Allard Pierson | Collections of the University of Amsterdam. The symposium is therefore targeted at both an academic and a professional audience.

The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food has been made possible with the generous support of The Amsterdam School for Historical Studies – University of Amsterdam, Bibliotheken Eemland, Carrera Culinair, Cormet, Fontaine Uitgeverij, Hotel De l’Europe, Huizinga Instituut, Nijgh Cuisine, Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek, Terra, Rural & Environmental History Group – Wageningen University & Research and Allard Pierson |Collections of the University of Amsterdam.

Cultures of Urban (In)Justice

The theme of the 2019-2020 ASCA Cities Seminar is “Cultures of Urban (In)Justice”. We are interested in examining dynamics of spatial (in)justice from the vantage point of creative, cultural, aesthetic and political practices in contemporary urban environments.

Spatial justice has long been recognized as an urgent and useful lens for understanding urban processes (Pirie 1983, Soja 2009). In this seminar, we will ask how it might be fruitfully expanded to both consider (in)justice as co-constitutive of contemporary urban cultures, social relations and forms of creative expression. In what ways are urban spatial processes bound up with frameworks of (in)justice at the local and ‘planetary’ scale? How are urban imaginaries articulated in relation to contemporary forms of geopower and its unjust consequences? What role does aesthetics – as negotiated by governments, art institutions, commercial actors, but also by artists and social or protest movements – play in diverse manifestations of urban (in)justice? And which inventive methods are being developed to take stock of spatial (in)justice, and intervene in its related assemblages, infrastructures and power structures?

Engaging with and expanding on these questions, the seminar seeks to analyse cultures of urban (in)justice by exploring a diverse set of topics and case studies. We will consider, for example, recent work on crisis and crisis-scapes in urban contexts, “black anthropocenes” (Yusoff, 2018), “ecologies of ‘making do’” (Mukherjee, 2017), “slow violence” (e.g. Nixon 2011, Davies, 2019), and “slow emergencies” (Anderson et al., 2019). In this way, we are not only interested in existing frameworks and manifestations of (in)justice, but also in ways of intervening, ‘repairing’, and ‘hacking into’ these structures and power relations, from a range of geographical locations and critical standpoints.

Semester 1 dates & places:

  • Friday 20 September 15:00-18:00 – PCH 104
  • Friday 1 November 10:00-12:00 -Potgieterzaal, UB;  15:00-18:00 -Potgieterzaal, UB
  • Friday 6 December  15:00-18:00 – PC Hoofthuis 1.04

Organisers: Carolyn Birdsall, Jeff Diamanti, Simone Kalkman and Kasia Mika



Our Mechanical Eyes — On Seeing Machines

Call for Papers
Kunstlicht Vol. 40 (2019), No. 4.

Managing Editors: Cleo Foole and Joyce Poot
Deadline for proposals: 12th August 2019

In the exhibition Rothko and I*, *alone without your phone, the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (Schiedam, NL) invites their visitors for an “intimate experience” with Rothko’s Grey, Orange on Maroon, No 8 (1960); the visitor can observe the painting, but has to leave their phone at the door.[1] The mobile phone is seen as blocking the way when it comes to attaining intimacy with the painting. This presence of smartphones in the exhibition space, not only as communication devices, but also as devices for recording and looking through, has increased dramatically over the last few years. With it came opportunities to share the experience and to prolong one’s visit digitally, yet, as Rothko and I implies, the smartphone also changes how we see. Directed towards sharing, the experience of an artwork becomes a self-reflexive re-creation, wherein the spectator is as much the represented object as the artwork itself.

With the rise of ‘smart technologies’ the meaning of ‘seeing,’ ‘looking,’ and ‘viewing,’ is changing. In Judy Radul’s 2017 installation the king, the door, the thief, the window, the stranger, the camera, the reflexivity of (digital) spectatorship is already incorporated in the artwork. It is not the spectator who records and curates her own experience, but the ‘seeing’ objects Radul places in the exhibition space. The spectator is confronted with video footage of themselves walking through the installation just moments before, causing a distancing between the image of the spectator wandering through the installation and the actual experience of this wandering. But strikingly, the cameras do not follow the spectator, but are programmed to fulfil a pre-set choreography. Therefore, Radul’s cameras are neither surveillance nor spectacle — or are they both? And if so, where should we place the spectator — who not only watches the spectacle, but also sees themselves, and who is not simply observed, but becomes complicit in this surveillance.

Both of these examples show how what it means to be a seeing subject has become vague. In Radul’s installation, there is both the spectator’s human vision and the installation’s machine vision, but in fact, we carry smart technologies with us everywhere we go, yet we are only confronted with this when we are asked to abandon our smartphones. Machine vision is different from human seeing, yet it has come to influence what and how we see; it can look at us, look for us, and regulate what is shown to us. In 1975, Michel Foucault wrote that our society had become “not one of spectacle but of surveillance… We are neither in the amphitheatre nor on the stage, but in the panoptic machine.”[2] In the age of intelligent machine vision however, spectacle and surveillance seem to be no longer juxtaposed. The sharer-spectator spectacularizes themselves in an act of (self) observation. They have come to experience the artwork and themselves as an interactive spectacle. Here, we understand the spectacle to interfere with human agency and understanding, as “a social relation between people that is mediated by images,” it is “a separate pseudoworld that can only be looked at,” according to Guy Debord.[3] The spectacle becomes interactive when the encounter of the (former) spectator with the spectacle becomes the spectacle itself, rendering the spectator in part object of her own gaze.

This issue of Kunstlicht is an attempt to go beyond an analytical account of perception, and question what it means to be a seer in a world of mechanical eyes. We are interested in how the interactive spectacle influences the field of contemporary art, where the experience of the spectator plays a pivotal role. Radul is only one among many artists who explore the possibilities of digital technology, which appears to create new opportunities for interactivity. Still, the (proposed) interaction can not only emancipate the spectator, it can also limit their agency. And moreover, the museum’s presentation of Rothko’s Grey, Orange on Maroon, No 8 is exemplary of the renewed focus on direct perception, showing a fetishization of the unmediated and thus “intimate experience.” Yet, it is questionable if such a momentary return to another, perhaps already archaic way of seeing is even possible — or desirable.

Instead, we might have to rethink Guy Debord’s spectacle in the age of digital interaction. Does Debord’s critique of the spectacle — to stay with technological terms — need an update? Can we argue that we find ourselves in an interactive spectacle, or could we go to a digital playground? Do mediated screens activate spectators, by making them more involved through appropriating what they look at, functioning as a kind of playbour? How does this online representation reflect back on the physical experience of artworks? And if smart technologies look at and for us, and when they can even regulate what is shown to us, then is there still any direct perception possible? Can the spectator still wander, when their movements are observed, regulated, stored, and then anticipated upon?

To explore the ways in which the spectator of contemporary society sees, we open the call to academic articles, image-based contributions, and experimental text contributions from writers and artists who research perception and its subversion in the digital age; those who offer a digital detournement, those who expose the limits of the digital human and those that transgress. We encourage writers to discuss the spectator of the future as well — we encourage predictions, urges, and underbelly feelings. Proposals (200-300 words) with attached résumés can be submitted until August 12th 2019 via Selected authors will be invited to write a 2,000–3,000-word paper (excluding notes).

Authors who publish in Kunstlicht will receive three complimentary copies. Unfortunately, Kunstlicht is not able to provide an author’s honorarium. Two articles will be selected to be available online. Two years following publication, papers will be submitted to the freely accessible online archive. The editorial board reserves the right to decline contributions.

For more info:

[1] Rothko en ik*, *In je eentje zonder telefoon, website Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, 24 June 2018. Online:

[2] Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 1975 (1991), 217.

[3] Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, 1967 (1984), thesis 2 & 4.


Solidariteit tussen generaties

Het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen is opgericht door Rosi Braidotti en Anneke Smelik, met als doel het stimuleren van het academisch onderwijs voor getalenteerde vrouwen aan de Universiteit Utrecht.

Rosi Braidotti is filosofe, Universiteitshoogleraar en oprichter en founding director van het Centre for the Humanities aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Zij is zeer toegewijd aan het ondersteunen van de ontwikkeling van vrouwen en van sociaal duurzame systemen. Anneke Smelik is theoretica cultuur en media en hoogleraar in Visuele Cultuur op de Katrien van Munster-stoel aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zij heeft een achtergrond in Women’s Studies en een levenslange toewijding aan de rechten van vrouwen.

Het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen richt zich op vrouwelijke onderzoekers die zich bevinden op kruispunten in hun carrière. ROSANNA biedt hen financiële ondersteuning om de volgende professionele stap te bereiken: een beurs voor een PhD of post-doc, hulp bij publicaties of buitenlandse studiereizen, steun bij het verkrijgen van een vaste aanstelling of hoogleraarschap, et cetera.


In overleg met de ROSANNA Adviesraad is een jaarlijkse beurs van €2.500,- voor een vluchtelingstudent opgestart. Deze beurs kwam tot stand in samenwerking met de Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten (UAF) Het UAF steunt al jarenlang vluchteling-studenten aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen kijkt uit naar een lange samenwerking en ondersteuning van hun goede werk.

Op 6 maart 2017 reikte het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen de eerste officiële beurs uit aan een vrouwelijke student: Atefeh Cheheli Sobi. Zij accepteerde de beurs namens de Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten.


De eerstvolgende deadline voor het ontvangen van aanmeldingen voor een ROSANNA Fonds Beurs is 1 december 2019.

Het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen ondersteunt getalenteerde kansarme vrouwelijke studenten en onderzoekers met hun carrière aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Het fonds biedt vrouwelijke studenten en onderzoekers financiële steun om hun academische ambities te verwezenlijken. Het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen zet zich in om hoger onderwijs toegankelijker te maken voor vrouwen, zodat geen enkele getalenteerde vrouw buiten de boot valt door een tekort aan financiële middelen.

Het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen geeft kortlopende beurzen tussen de € 2.500 en € 5.000. Het toegekende bedrag hangt af van de financiële situatie, plannen en behoeftes van de kandidaat. Een beurs van het ROSANNA Fonds voor Vrouwen kan per kandidaat verschillen, afhankelijk van de specifieke behoeften van de kandidaat. Kijk voor meer informatie hieronder bij ‘Aanmelding en criteria’.

Meer informatie


Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend 2019

The board of the Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek invites students and researchers to submit requests for the Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend 2019.

With this stipend, the Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek aims to:

  • commemorate the major contributions of Professor J.M. van Winter, emeritus professor of Medieval History at Utrecht University, to the study of the history of eating and drinking in the Middle Ages;
  • encourage the use of the History of Food collection of the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam.

The Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek was established in 1993 by Johannes van Dam, Joop Witteveen and Bart Cuperus with the aim of preserving for future generations their private collections on the history of food. In 2005, the Stichting decided to bring their collection under the umbrella of the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam.

The Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend

Each year, the Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek makes a stipend of €1000 available for research that makes particular use of the History of Food collection of the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam. This research is intended to throw further light on a particular aspect of the history of food and drink. The stipend is to be used as compensation for travel, accommodation and research costs and must be fully spent within one year of allocation.

The results of the research should be presented in writing in the form of a brief report. The researcher will be invited to give a short presentation of their research during the next Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food.


Students or researchers studying or working at a university in the Netherlands or abroad are eligible to apply.


Applications should comprise:

  • a research proposal of no more than 500 words;
  • a brief CV;
  • a fully completed application form.

Applications must be submitted by 15 August 2019 to:

Bijzondere Collecties, attn. Ms J.J. Mammen, Oude Turfmarkt 129, 1012 GC Amsterdam (email:

Applications will be assessed by Professor J.M. van Winter and the jury of the Joop Witteveen Prize: Dr D. De Vooght, M. Willebrands Ma, Prof. K.J. Cwiertka, S. van der Veen Ma and Dr M. van Roon.


The announcement of the recipient of the Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend will take place during the Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2019 on Friday 15 November 2019. All applicants will be contacted before 15 October 2019.