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Promoting Potatoes in Peru and Other Tales of the Hispanic Enlightenment

Tuesday 14 March 2017, 6.15PM to 7.15pm

Speaker(s): Professor Rebecca Earle, University of Warwick

The York Centre for the Americas' annual lecture will take place on 14 March. Professor Rebecca Earle (University of Warwick) will give a talk titled "Promoting Potatoes in Peru and Other Tales of the Hispanic Enlightenment".

The potato, insisted 18th-century Spanish savants, was a 'precious fruit', a panacea against poverty and dearth, a source of state strength and security. Enormous effort was therefore invested in promoting its consumption in Europe, as part of larger campaigns to improve national health and productivity. Comparable enlightened campaigns were launched in Europe’s American colonies.

Via the geographically-mobile new world potato, this paper contrasts colonial and metropolitan visions of health, nutrition and science to help rethink the Americas’ place in the global Enlightenment

About the speaker

Rebecca Earle, University of Warwick

Rebecca Earle is professor of History at the University of Warwick. She has worked extensively on questions of culture and identity formation in colonial and post-independence Spanish America and has published widely in this field.

Rebecca's widely acclaimed monograph, The Return of the Native (2007), offered a hemispheric interpretation of elite nationalism in post-colonial Spanish America, based on both written texts and also visual and material culture. Her more recent book, The Body of the Conquistador, explores the centrality of food and eating in the construction of colonial space across the Spanish Indies.

Rebecca is currently working on a new, interdisciplinary project which examines the impact of new world foods (potatoes, chocolate, maize) on early modern European mentalities and political culture.

The event is made possible by generous support from the Centre for Modern Studies (CMODS) as well as from the University’s Distinguished Visitors’ Fund. 

Location: Spring Lane Auditorium, SLB/118

Admission: Admission is free and open to all, no ticket required