Pulling the Nation’s Noodles: Ramen and the Chinese Origins of Modern Japanese Cuisine

Date: 4/6/2022

Time: 3:30 - 5:00 pm EST

Presenter: Dr. Barak Kushner

University of Cambridge, UK


Food has always played a role in empire, both for its expansion and in its destruction. Imperial interaction has been fundamental to changes in social attitudes toward consumption and identity. And then there is cuisine, what ends up on our plates, cooked or creatively placed there by ourselves or others. Contrary to popular belief, Japanese cuisine has been in constant conversation with East Asia and assorted European practices since at least the mid-1500s. And by the early 20th century this rich interaction began to forge new foodways and practices in dining habits. How food and empire forged Japan’s popular noodle soup, ramen, is a complex story. This talk will explore the sometimes combative tango of slurping, supremacy, and ideology that formed this unlikely outcome of the Sino-Japanese relationship.

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Can China Sustain Its Current Level of Food Security?

Date: 2/23/2022

Time: 3:30 - 5:00 pm EST

Presenter: Dr. Zhangyue Zhou

James Cook University, Australia


China used to be a land of famine. Yet, since the early 1980s, improvements in China’s food security have been impressive. In recent years, food in China has been abundant with diverse choices. Can China sustain, or even further improve on, its current level of food security? This cannot be an easy question to answer. Nonetheless, this presentation attempts to shed some light on this question, important not only for China but also for the rest of the world.

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