The Global History of the Tomato: A Perspective from the Middle East

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The Global History of the Tomato: A Perspective from the Middle East

March 6 @ 7:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST


Alfred Crosby, who coined the term “Columbian Exchange,” wrote in 1972 that “there is no area in which the story of American foods is as obscure and yet as vital to the understanding of world history as in the Middle East.” Since then, however, the question of how foods like tomatoes and peppers made their way to and through the Middle East has not been a subject of much scholarly research. This webinar takes up the case of the tomato and explores multiple routes by which it may have traveled from present-day Mexico to Egypt, where it transformed both cuisine and horticulture and became a cultural touchstone of Arab cuisine. The seminar aims to offer a new way to frame the geographies of the Columbian Exchange beyond the Atlantic.

About the Presenter

Anny Gaul is a cultural historian studying food and gender in the Middle East. She’s currently an assistant professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she teaches classes on the culture, gender history, literature, and food of the Arabic-speaking world. She’s currently writing a book that tells the story of modern Egypt through a cultural history of the tomato. She has also taught at Georgetown and Tufts University, works as a translator (from Arabic) and has a food blog at Her Phd is from Georgetown and Anny has received awards and fellowships from the Fulbright program, the Social Science Research Council, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies.


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March 6
7:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST
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