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Pasta’s global story: Françoise Sabban on the contested history of noodles

Pasta’s global story: Françoise Sabban on the contested history of noodles. A lecture for Shared Taste at SieboldHuis, Leiden

In April 2016, we had the great pleasure of hosting the eminent French food historian Françoise Sabban. Professor Sabban is professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and member of the Centre for Modern and Contemporary China Studies. She is one of the foremost scholars of food history in Europe, and the most eminent historian of Chinese food history. It was a great honour for us to host her in Leiden; her presence was an inspiration, and her lecture was an overwhelming success. (more…)

Lecture: the disputed issue of the origin of noodles

Dough kneading: mural from Zhao Dejun tomb
‘Dough kneading’: mural from Zhao Dejun tomb, near Beijing (China, 10th century)


Lecture: The disputed issue of the origin of noodles: a new comparative approach
Francoise Sabban / Friday April 22, 2016

In this ‘Shared Taste’ lecture, Professor Françoise Sabban (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) will try to dig deeper into an issue that has puzzled food historians for some time: who invented the noodle first? Were the Italians first with their invention of pasta, or was it the Chinese, with their invention of noodles?

Evidence suggests that making noodles from wheat occurred  earlier in Northern China than in the Mediterranean basin. But why is that the case, when wheat was the most significant cereal of the Mediterranean world? (more…)

High diplomacy and a humble bean

Soybean shipment in the port of Dairen
Soybean cake in the port of Dairen (Dalian) awaiting for shipment, 1908.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington DC

High diplomacy and a humble bean: The global entanglement of the Manchurian soybean, 1900s–1930s
Ines Prodöhl / Friday May 1, 2015

In this lecture, Ines Prodöhl (German Historical Institute, Washington DC) will trace how imperialism and globalization converged in the Manchurian soybean between approx. 1900 and 1930.

During this period, a steadily increasing demand for soybeans in Japan and Europe shaped the region agriculturally and economically.

At the same time, the struggle between Russia and Japan for imperial control over Northeast China created a highly complex situation for the growers, processors, traders, and purchasers of soybeans and their products.

The lecture disentangles these mainly transnational relationships and discusses the local impact of a process known nowadays as globalization.

Venue: SieboldHuis (Rapenburg 19, Leiden)
Date: Friday May 1, 2015
Time: 14:30-15:30 hours, followed by discussion, then reception and drinks.
You are most welcome to attend! Lecture is free, please register through alice [at]