HistoriaSG Public Lecture Series 2017: Lecture IV (Retracing the Spice Road: How Southeast Asia Shaped Europe’s Tastes)

Retracing the Spice Road: How Southeast Asia Shaped Europe’s Tastes

Lecture by Professor Hallam Stevens, Nanyang Technological University
National Museum of Singapore
22 April 2017

European colonialism in Southeast Asia revolved around the spice trade: Portuguese – and later Dutch, French and English – merchants in the region sought and found sources of nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, cloves, ginger and other plant-based luxury goods. But what happened to these spices once they arrived back in Europe? What exactly were they used for, and how and why did they become so valuable? In this talk, Dr Hallam Stevens will explore the role of spices, in particular Southeast Asian spices, in transforming the European diet and the wider effects of these new foods on European culture.

Download summary report of the lecture Retracing the Spice Road: How Southeast Asia Shaped Europe’s Tastes

About the speaker

Dr Hallam Stevens was born in the United Kingdom, grew up in Australia, and pursued his education mostly in the United States. After studying physics and the history of physics as an undergraduate, he pursued an MPhil in the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University. He obtained his PhD from the Department of History of Science at Harvard in 2010 and moved to Singapore in 2011. His first book, published in November 2013, is titled “Life Out of Sequence: A Data-Driven History of Bioinformatics” (University of Chicago Press). He has also co-edited (with Sarah S. Richardson) a volume of essays under the title “Postgenomics: Approaches to Biology After the Genome” (Duke University Press, 2015). He is presently an Associate Professor with the School of Humanities and in the School of Biological Sciences at NTU.

About HistoriaSG

HistoriaSG is a lecture series that focuses on important but lesser-known aspects of Singapore’s history. With in-depth presentations by local and international academics on a range of topics viewed through a variety of lens from business to science and technology, the environment and specific communities, the series sheds new light on Singapore’s culture, history and heritage. Organised by the National Museum of Singapore, HistoriaSG is part of the museum’s efforts to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Singapore’s history. Please visit National Museum of Singapore's website for information on upcoming lectures.

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