Franke Lectures at Yale Explore the History of the World Through Food

Joanna Waley-Cohen of New York University will deliver the first Franke Lecture at Yale on January 31 in a series focusing on the history of food and cuisine. Free and open to the public, all Franke lectures take place in Room 203 of the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street, at 5 p.m.

Waley-Cohen, who received her doctorate from Yale in 1987, is a recognized authority on early modern Chinese history. She is currently the chair of the Department of History at NYU, where she has taught since 1992. Her books include “The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History” (1999) and “The Culture of War: Empire and the Military under the Qing Dynasty” (2006). She has also published many articles on Chinese law, politics, foreign relations and culinary culture, including “A Question of Balance: Taste and Gastronomy in China,” which appears in “Food: The History of Taste” (2008), edited by Paul Freedman, the Chester D. Tripp Professor of History at Yale. Waley-Cohen is currently working on two projects: a culinary history of early modern China, focused on leisure, cooking, and imperial dining practices; and an account of daily life in China around 1800.

Other scheduled lectures include

February 21: Fabio Parasecoli, associate professor of food studies at the New School and author of “Bite Me! Food in Pop Culture,” will discuss “The Masculine and the Meal: Representations of Food and Men in Blockbuster Movies.”

March 2: Susan Tucker, author of “Telling Memories Among Southern Women” and editor of “New Orleans Cuisine: Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories,” will speak on “Inscribing Food/Talking Life: New Orleans Past.”

April 18: Danny Meyer, New York restaurateur and active leader in the fight against hunger, will give a talk on “The Power of Hospitality.”

The Franke Lectures are made possible by the generosity of Richard and Barbara Franke, and are intended to present important topics in the humanities to a wide and general audience. The spring 2011 series studies the history of food and culinary styles from prehistory to the present, with a particular focus on Europe and the United States. This year’s lectures are organized in conjunction with the Yale College seminar on the history of food taught by Paul Freedman.

For more information, contact Susan Stout at 203 432-6556 or

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