Changing Tastes: How Foods Tasted in the Early Modern Period and How They Taste Now

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Changing Tastes: How Foods Tasted in the Early Modern Period and How They Taste Now

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Columbia University

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In dietetic and natural philosophical frameworks of the period from Antiquity to the seventeenth century, the subjective experiences of taste, and indeed the experiences of digestion, testified to the make-up of the world’s edible portions. That is, such subjective experiences might be both philosophically and practically reliable. How did that framework help early modern eaters make sense of their bodies and that portion of the world that constituted their aliment? How did that sense-making capacity change over time, as new medical and scientific frameworks emerged from the eighteenth century and, finally, became scientifically dominant in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? What happened to the subjective experiences of taste when they no longer indexed how the world really is? How has the vocabulary used to describe taste changed? And how do we now know about the edible world?

Speaker

Steven Shapin

Harvard University

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Note: Location of event has changed to the Faculty House.

Columbia University

64 Morningside Drive
Faculty House, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10027