Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food

Fri Feb 11 2022 at 09:00 am to Sat Feb 12 2022 at 12:00 pm

Allard Pierson | Amsterdam

Allard Pierson
Publisher/HostAllard Pierson
Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food
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Theme: Food and the Environment: Food Production and Consumption on a Changing Planet
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.

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Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Allard Pierson, Oude Turfmarkt 127, 1012GC Amsterdam, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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