Homegrown Foods, Homegrown Sentiments? A Cultural Analysis of the Dutch Fear of Esthetic Contamination, 1770 - 1914
2020 Van Tilburg Lecture by Saskia Pieterse, University of Utrecht, Dutch Studies.
Thursday, February 13, 20206:00 PM
Sequoia Room, UCLA Faculty Center
In 1776, the Dutch magazine de Koopman (the Merchant) devoted a whole issue to herring, arguing that the Dutch economy was in decline because of an unchecked luxury consumption. The Dutch Republic owed its prosperity to a very simple philosophy: 'feed the excessive needs of others, curb your own'. Indeed, in the old days, Dutch merchants traded all sorts of luxury foods, but they themselves ate only simple homegrown foods, such as cheese, cabbage, and of course herring. However, in the 18th century it became fashionable to eat French dishes and drink colonial beverages. And with foreign tastes came foreign bad habits, such as living on credit.
This lecture will examine the claim that internalization of new tastes, sensations and emotional experiences could only undermine the 'sober' Dutch national character and endanger the Republic’s status as a colonial power. I will analyze different manifestations of the Dutch fear of 'esthetic contamination', showing how it emerged at the end of the 18th century, and how it mutated into a racialized worldview during the heyday of modern Dutch imperialism, at the end of the 19th century. Starting with a discussion on food, I will move to literature, more specifically the Dutch attitude towards literary sentimentalism.
About the speaker:
Saskia Pieterse is an assistant professor and researcher at Utrecht University in the department of Dutch Studies. She studied at Utrecht University and obtained her PhD (with honors) at the University of Amsterdam in 2008 with a thesis on “Phonocentrism” in the works of the nineteenth-century Dutch writer Multatuli. She received a Veni Grant for her research project “Economic Tropes, National Identity and the Dutch Novel” and is currently working in the fields of imagology and (post)colonial literature.
The Van Tilburg Lectures
In 2005, Johannes Van Tilburg and his wife, Jo Anne, gave the Dutch Studies Program at UCLA a remarkably generous gift to establish in perpetuity the Johannes Van Tilburg Lecture in Dutch Studies.
Mr. Van Tilburg came to the USA from The Netherlands in 1965. In 1971, he became the founding principal of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, AIA and has led this 100 person firm to the forefront of planning and design. His work as a designer is widely recognized throughout the state and indeed the entire country. In 1992, he was honored by his peers and elevated to the level of Fellow of the American Institution of Architects. In 2007, Johannes Van Tilburg was honored by the Netherlands America Foundation of Southern California. Mr. Van Tilburg is deeply committed to education and continues to work as an adjunct Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at USC. In 2010, Mr. Van Tilburg was appointed Honorary Consul of The Netherlands in Los Angeles.
Reception to follow the lecture.
Cost : Free and open to the public. RSVP required for admission.
Sponsor(s): Center for European and Russian Studies, Dutch