A social history of chili pepper in China

Cultural Seminar: A Social History of Chili Pepper in China

1:00pm - 3:00pm / Monday 21st October 2019
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Confucius Institute
  • Admission: Free. Register via Eventbrite
  • Add this event to my calendar

    When you click on "Add this event to my calendar" your browser will download an ics file.

    Microsoft Outlook: Download the file, then you may be able to click on "Save & Close" to save it to your calendar. If that doesn't work go into Outlook, click on the File tab, then on Open, then Import. Select "Import an iCalendar (.ic or vCalendar file (.vcs)" then click on Next. Find the .ics file and click on OK.

    Google Calendar: download the file, then go into your calendar. On the right where it says "Other calendars" click on the arrow icon and then click on Import calendar. Click on Browse and select the .ics file, then click on Import.

    Apple Calendar: download the file, then you can either drag it to Calendar or import the file by going to File > Import > Import and choosing the .ics file.

This presentation offers a concise social, cultural and political history of chili pepper in China, noting its entanglement in broader historical developments in China. In the 17th century, chili pepper was not seen as a food, but instead as a decorative plant in coastal China. In the 18th century, chili pepper was ‘rediscovered’ as a food in southwest China, in part as a result of shortages of salt. In the 19th century, chili pepper gained popularity among mountainous people in south China, promoted by an agricultural revolution, and was often labelled as a ‘condiment for the poor’. The 20th century was a century of revolution in China. Chili pepper came to be viewed as the ‘colour’ of the communist revolution: it swept across China and overthrew other food options, becoming the most favoured condiment in the new era of migration in China. This presentation will use the case of chili pepper to explore the place of foodscapes in social life and to better understand how wider social histories can be accessed by starting with everyday food. Full details (including registration)