When: Thursday, 30 January 2020, S, 7.00-8.30pm.

Where: Simon’s Rock College Lecture Center, Great Barrington. Free parking is available behind the Lecture Center, which is next to the Alumni Library on campus.  Reservations are not needed. Free and open to the public. The event is hosted by the Center for Food Studies at Simon’s Rock. For further information, contact Maryann Tebben mtebben@simons-rock.edu.

Gastrodiplomacy and China’s Global Influence

Speakers: Karen Christensen Zhao Rongguang

美食外交与中国: 国际交往中的美食效应

Dining together – “breaking bread” – is known throughout the world as a way to bring people closer, to bridge differences, and to confirm peaceful relations. This form of diplomacy, now known as gastrodiplomacy, has evolved in recent years from government meetings and state dinners to a form of soft power for many countries. Gastrodiplomacy even explains why Great Barrington has a Thai restaurant. Karen Christensen’s work in China has convinced her that food provides an important window into Chinese history and culture and a way to promote trust and understanding at a time of tension between China and the United States. Christensen will talk about Chinese food diplomacy from 1575 to the present and how food has influenced her work in China since 2001. She will explain how Chinese cuisine offers a compelling opportunity for soft-power diplomacy, and has a role to play in combating climate change and improving public health.

Christensen will be joined by Professor Zhao Rongguang, a leader in food studies in China, who will talk about two traditional Chinese approaches to food: the advice to “eat well” and the notion of “mindful eating.”

Karen Christensen is co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Modern Asia and Asian Cuisines, publisher of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography, and is now developing the Encyclopedia of Chinese Cuisines. Her publishing company has a Memorandum of Agreement with China’s leading organization for the promotion of Chinese food. She is a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Zhao Rongguang 赵荣光is professor and director of the Chinese Food Culture Institute at Zhejiang Gongshang University, as well as Chairman and Founder of the Asian Food Studies Conference. He is recognized in China for his research on Manchu-Han imperial banquets, the food archives of the descendants of Confucius, the dietary life of Chinese commoners, and many other subjects. He has also designed several food-themed museums.

Professor Zhao will also speak at the Confucius Institute, SUNY Albany, on Friday 31 January 2020 from 12-1pm.

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