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Middle Eastern Roots of Spice Trade: The Origins of Culinary Imperialism and Globalization

This lecture will present the hypothesis that every economic and social stage in the development of globalization was first initiated and refined among Semitic traders of aromatics, including Arab, Sephardic Jewish, Phoenecian and Nabatean spice merchants working in trancontinental networks over the last 3500 years.

The term culinary imperialism is introduced to recognize their wide-ranging influences on ethnic cuisines in the Old World and, after 1492, in the New World. This narrative also sheds new light on the roots of cooperation and conflict among Arabs and Jews.

Gary Paul Nabhan is a Lebanese-American food historian, nature writer, farmer and plant explorer. He has taught in four departments at the University of Arizona, and four additional departments at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. Author or editor of 26 books, popular and scholarly, he has won nunmerous awards for his writing and collaborative conservation efforts. The field work for his latest book from the University of California Press, Cumin, Camels and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey, took him to Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Oman and Morocco. His own family and clan, the Banu Nebhani have been engaged in spice trade for centuries if not millennia.

 

 

 

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