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Food has long been central to all facets of Chinese society. In this talk, Professor Thomas David DuBois will start with the question of how cookbooks are a source to understand changing culinary fashions, historical commodity prices and household budgets, class aspirations around dining, and the changing social figure of the cook. Professor DuBois will then briefly bring these perspectives to China’s wealth of cookbooks before focusing the attention on technique, cuisine and authenticity by examining the evolution of particular dishes from the Song dynasty to the present day. The talk will close with a few thoughts on the tools and perspectives needed to conduct a genealogy of culinary craft.
The country that we call “China” is built on the foundation of a vast empire close to the size of Europe that spans radically different climatic and environmental zones. Populations in these different zones developed distinctive languages, customs, cuisines, and ethnic identities. Over the millennia, these different ethnic zones largely retained their own unique identities. Archaeological discoveries in the late twentieth century have demonstrated that the development of China was not unidirectional as once thought but multiregional. There were significant civilisations to the south and west of the Chinese heartland that developed earlier than the first known dynastic states based near the Yellow River.

Highlights

culture talks highlight
IAC Culture Talks is a cross-disciplinary series aiming to build up cultural knowledge and understanding of multiculturality through sharing recent studies of specific areas.
art talks highlight
Art Talks aims to explore and to present traditions and forms of Chinese art and the influence of Chinese art on various new or renewed forms and styles of art in Australia, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and around Asia Pacific.
My China Story is a distinctive, face-to-face conversation series to build a three-dimensional understanding of China. Each conversation features a guest speaker who will share individual stories and experiences to enable audiences to build their own perception of China.