A Quick ‘British’ Meal? Exploring The Growth of International Takeaways in Britain from 1950 to the Present Day
When we think of a classic British takeaway, we most commonly think of fish and chips. However, as Jessica Lambert explains in this blog post, the takeaway culture that exists today grew out of food influences from across the globe. Whilst nowadays we simply order our choice of exotic cuisine by tapping a few buttons on a screen, the wide variety of dishes at our fingertips grew out of increased migration to Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, bringing Turkish kebabs and Chinese chow meins to our palates.
Orchids are one of the most popular plants in the world. But back in the nineteenth century, orchids, specially the tropical ones, were a botanical curiosity and an exotic and expensive item only a few could afford. Those plants were extracted from the tropical jungles of South America to be sold in auctions in Britain. In this blog post, Camilo Uribe Botta shows how the networks created between Colombia, Belgium and Britain in the 1840s led to a constant supply of plants from the tropical Andes and also to new botanical discoveries and innovative methods on how to cultivate them in Britain.
What does the sweet potato tell us about sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England? We may now associate this root vegetable with Thanksgivings or modern food trends, but the sweet potato had a considerable vogue in the early modern period, one that sheds light on the international nature of English foodways and the early rise of global consumption. In this blog post, Serin Quinn argues for the inclusion of the sweet potato, and other indigenous American foods, in discussions of the trade in luxury foods in pre-modern England, and for a revision of the narrative that American foods were met with fear and suspicion upon their arrival in Europe.
The art of lacquer involves a glue-like material applied in layers to the surface of objects to make them visually dazzling. From the early sixteenth century, lacquerwares made in Asia were increasingly brought to Europe and highly valued for their quality. Later they were also included in European paintings. How did artists choose to represent this precious and mysterious material? In this blog post, Cheng He shows that a liquid substance like lacquer could be expressed on canvas with different emphases. It was at the same time assimilated into different genres and contexts in paintings, which conversely enriched the cultural meanings of lacquer.
Managers from the British World: A Global Approach to Sheep Farming Industry Labour Disciplines in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, 1837-1956
From the late nineteenth century onwards, enterprising men from Britain and the British Empire began arriving in Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, in Argentina and Chile. Part of a wider process of Europeanisation and capitalist colonisation, these men managed an imported activity which deeply transformed this South American borderland region: the sheep farming industry. An important part of this process was the installation of labour regimes, where managers from the British world introduced new practices of disciplining the local workforce. However, as Nicolás Gómez Baeza argues in this blog post, this history of Patagonian local capitalisms was also one of British-global-imperial transfers of diverse capitalist and management knowledge and behaviours.