SOAS University of London

SOAS Food Studies Centre

SOAS Food Studies Centre Distinguished Lectures

Launched in 2007, the SOAS Food Studies Centre Distinguished Lecture Series provides a forum for leading scholars, students, journalists, practitioners and members of the public to engage in critical conversations about the nature of food, the interconnectivity of contemporary food systems, the role of food in daily life, and emerging trends in food studies.

The Distinguished Lecture Series furthers the Centre’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and aims to bring exciting research and policy discussions to the wider public. The lecture series invites speakers to give engaging presentations, followed by discussions with audience members, the content of which is archived on the SOAS website for broader consumption.

Between 2014 and 2019, the series was co-sponsored by Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies (now Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies). Adapted versions of the lectures from this period were published in Gastronomica.  

Previous Events in this series

Between Distribution and Consumption: On The Social Practices of Food Acquisition

Dr Hanna Garth (University of California San Diego)

Based on ethnographic research in Cuba and the United States, Dr Hanna Garth will argue that the link between distribution and consumption is not a given, and food acquisition should be considered an important step in the chain from production to consumption.

18 December 2020, Virtual Event, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Re-thinking Street Food

Professor Krishnendu Ray (New York University)

Critical attention to street food can change the politics and poetics of good taste, aiding in the decolonization of palatal and philosophical expectations of gastronomy that has come to dominate the field.

17 January 2019, Brunei Gallery, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, 6:15 PM - 9:00 PM

Consumer Citizenship: The Social Life of Industrial Foods in India

Professor Amita Baviskar (Institute of Economic Growth)

This lecture will focus on the role of processed foods, specifically instant noodles, in the cultural imagination of Indians across regions, classes, and the rural-urban continuum.

16 March 2017, Paul Webley Wing (Senate House), Alumni Lecture Theatre, 6:15 PM - 9:00 PM

How Grains Domesticated Us

James C. Scott (Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University)

In this lecture, Scott asks how homo sapiens came, only in the last 5% of its long career on the planet, to live in concentrated heaps of people, grain, and domesticated animals and, later, to be governed by units we call states. He will argue that virtually all classical states were based on grains, which are suited to concentrated production, tax assessment, cadastral surveys, storage, and rationing.

11 December 2014, Brunei Gallery, Brunie Gallery Lecture Theatre , 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

From Arak To Za’Atar: Jerusalem and its many culinary traditions

Yotam Ottolenghi

Modern Jerusalem is unique: it is a city where ancient history and recent events constantly interact – with great intimacy and intensity – and thus shape every aspect of the daily realities of its citizens. Join the SOAS Food Studies Centre to welcome Yotam Ottolenghi to SOAS for this distinguished lecture.

12 November 2014, Brunei Gallery, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Lecture: Ambiguous Appetites: A Modern History

Susanne Freidberg (Associate Professor of Geography, Dartmouth College (USA))
The SOAS Food Studies Centre presents A SOAS Food Forum Distinguished Lecture by Susanne Freidberg14 January 2010, Russell Square: College Buildings, Khalili Lecture Theatre, 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Food and Diaspora

Professor Sidney Mintz (Johns Hopkins University)
11 October 2007, Brunei Gallery, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM