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Masterclass ‘Food & the environment: Rethinking the history of consumption’ by Dr. Peter van Dam (UvA)

Date & time:

Date & time symposium: 11 February 2022: 9.30 – 17.30, 12 February 2022: 9.00 – 12.30
Date & time masterclass: 12 February: 14.00 – 16.00

Venue symposium: online
Venue masterclass: Allard Pierson


Environmental histories of food are challenging us to rethink the history of consumption at large, questioning the impact of material relations on human society from a global perspective. This masterclass is part of the symposium ‘Food and the Environment. The Dynamic Relationship Between Food Practices and Nature’ (attendance required). First, we will explore the specific place of food in these environmental histories. Second, participants will explore the exciting innovations which have come to the fore in recent environmental histories of food. In particular, we will discuss the decentering of humans, the reconceptualization of transnational relations, and the reappraisal of interdisciplinary research.

Participants attend the symposium on 11 and 12 February (symposium fee covered by the Huizinga Institute). In the afternoon of 12 February, the masterclass with Dr Peter van Dam takes place. During the first part of the masterclass, we will discuss relevant trends in environmental histories of food (ca 1 h). The second part will be devoted to applying these perspectives, based on the participants’ papers (ca 1h).

Preparatory assignment

After reading the introductory texts, participants address the central question of this workshop in a short essay (ca. 500 words). Each essay explores one specific way in which environmental histories of food stimulate us to rethink histories of consumption. Ideally, the participant relates this exploration to her/his own research project. Submit the essay no later than February 4, 2022 (


Klingle, M. (2014): The nature of desire: consumption in environmental history. Oxford Handbook of Environmental History, ed. Andrew C. Isenberg. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Demuth, B. (2019): Floating coast: an environmental history of the Bering Strait. New York: Norton, 257-279

Register (4/15 spaces left)

Bookings are closed for this course.