Tag Archives: Current

Food cultures of the Middle East and Asia

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fifth Floor
Exhibit Dates: October 1 – December 31, 2018

For their second joint exhibit, five area-studies librarians on the fifth floor of the Joseph Regenstein Library celebrate the diversity of food cultures from across their areas of expertise.

Collage of paintings with food being served

Jee-Young Park on Korean cuisine

With a rich and long history, Korean cuisine has evolved through centuries of social and cultural change. From royal court cuisine to the food of commoners and regional specialties, the main ingredients of Korean food are constant: rice, meat, seafood and vegetables. Today, an everyday meal typically includes one or two main dishes, short-grain rice and a number of side dishes (panch’an) including kimchi. For many, food is inseparable from cultural and historical identity. As methods of harvest and preservation gradually took shape over centuries, seasonal customs spread across the peninsula and dining etiquette grew more elaborate. Korean scholars have turned to food as a medium through which to interpret history and culture and likewise has played an important part in the works of artists and writers across time.

Laura A. Ring on historical foodways in South Asia

The Library makes available a wealth of primary resources for the study of historical foodways in South Asia. Shown are verses in praise of food in the Rigveda, a collection of ancient Hindu hymns in early Sanskrit (circa 1500 to 1200 BCE.); food and diet therapy in the Suśruta Saṃhitā, the earliest known treatise on Ayurvedic medicine (circa mid first millennium B.C.E.); and pictorial representations of food in the Niʻmatnāma, a 15th-century manuscript of recipes, remedies, and aphrodisiacs of the Sultans of Mandu (Madhya Pradesh, India).

Marlis J. Saleh on coffee in the Middle East

From the time of its first cultivation in the fifteenth century, coffee has played an important role in the culture of the Middle East. Shown are a sixteenth-century text discussing religious controversies relating to the permissibility of coffee; a seventeenth-century report (and translation) on the social upheaval caused by the appearance of coffeehouses in Istanbul; a nineteenth-century Englishman’s description of coffee as the center of Bedouin hospitality; and a modern scholarly work on the history of coffee and coffeehouses in the Middle East.

Jiaxun Wu on Chinese cuisine

Chinese cuisine is not only renowned by its taste, but also is part of culture. The history of Chinese cuisine can be traced back to pre-Qin period. Through the thousands of years, it has continuously developed. In the meantime, it is marked by both variety and change, including cooking styles, methods, ingredients, and recipes. It also shows continuous absorption of diverse foreign influences. The book, Encyclopedia of Chinese Cooking, first discusses the beginning and development of cooking on Chinese food, and imperial cuisine through the ages. The book further introduces the different schools of Chinese cuisines, and cooking and cuisine of minorities.

Ayako Yoshimura on condiments in Japanese culture

Selected from the Japanese collection are books that introduce the effect of condiments in Japanese cuisine, and that feature the culture of railway dining cars (one often-overlooked area in which to trace how Japan adopted “Western” cultural elements).

 

“Pro svobodu a samostatnost”: The Struggle for Czechoslovak Independence, 1914-1918

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: September 26, 2018 – January 7, 2019

Plaque of the Bohemian National Alliance in America, 1918

Plaque of the Bohemian National Alliance in America, 1918

On October 28, 1918, the National Committee (Národní výbor) in Prague formally proclaimed the formation of an independent Czechoslovak state and enacted its first laws. This proclamation was the culmination of a four-year political and military struggle to liberate the Czech and Slovak peoples from Austro-Hungarian rule and to give them scope for their own political and cultural self-determination.

The creation of the Czechoslovak Republic brought together two distinct but closely-related ethnic groups – the Czechs and the Slovaks. Although speaking closely related West Slavic languages, these two groups had historically belonged to political spheres: under the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary, the Czech lands lay in the northwestern part of Cisleithania, the part of the empire ruled by Austria, while Slovak territory formed part of Transleithania, the section of the empire ruled by Hungary. Inasmuch as the Hapsburg rulers of Austro-Hungary favored German language and culture in Austria and Hungarian language and culture in Hungary, both Czechs and Slovaks, deeply affected by movements of national revival in the early 19th century, considered their respective nations to be treated as second-class citizens within Austria-Hungary and sought greater autonomy for themselves.

With the coming of the First World War, Czech and Slovak efforts for autonomy became efforts for independence from Austro-Hungarian rule. Much of this activity took place outside of the Czech and Slovak homelands. After Czech and Slovak leaders in America agreed to join forces to fight for a single shared state, the Czechoslovak National Council in Paris, led by Czech philosopher and future Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, became the organizational center for the Czechoslovak struggle for independence. Volunteer military forces of Czech and Slovak soldiers – the Czechoslovak Legions – sprang up in France, Russia, and Italy, and fought alongside the Allied Forces, winning recognition for their exploits in the field. Czech and Slovak communities abroad, such as the Bohemian National Alliance and the Slovak League in the United States offered vital political, economic, and material support to the cause of independence. The efforts of all these different Czech, Slovak, and Czechoslovak organizations led to recognition of Czechoslovak national sovereignty by the Allied nations and the formation of the Czechoslovak Republic. This two-case exhibit includes publications, pictures, maps, and artifacts that document and celebrate these varied efforts towards Czechoslovak independence.

The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of June Pachuta Farris, former Slavic Librarian and a passionate advocate of the Archives of Czechs and Slovaks Abroad (ACASA).

Czech-American poster published by the Bohemian National Alliance and Union of Czech Catholics, celebrating the official recognition of the Czechoslovak nation by the United States.

Czech-American poster published by the Bohemian National Alliance and Union of Czech Catholics, celebrating the official recognition of the Czechoslovak nation by the United States.

T.G. Masaryk (1850-1937) in Chicago with Czech-American leaders, May 1918

T.G. Masaryk (1850-1937) in Chicago with Czech-American leaders, May 1918

Celebrating the Poetry of Asia and the Middle East

Collage of images derived from itemsin the exhibit

 

 

 

 

 

 


Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fifth Floor
Exhibit Dates: May 1 – June 30, 2018

For their inaugural joint exhibit, five area-studies librarians on the fifth floor of the Joseph Regenstein Library celebrate poetry from their own areas of expertise. The items highlight the diversity of poetry traditions.

Shown are one item to represent each of the three major poetic traditions of the Islamic Middle East: Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish. Each item also offers an example of their respective traditions of manuscript illumination.

  • Laura Ring, Librarian for Southern Asia and Anthropology

Southern Indian Akam or love poems from the classical Tamil anthology Aiṅkuṟunūṟu.

Having followed one of the major incidents in Korean history, the poems provide insight to moments of sorrow, pain, forgiveness, and hope resulting from and surrounding the Jeju 4.3 Uprising in 1948.

Poetry in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) is an unparalleled system reaching its pinnacle in the development of the poem. Its great value consists of an ideal combination of thoughts and art. Li Bai and Du Fu are considered two superstar Tang Poets.

Shown are poems composed in the traditional fixed forms waka, haiku, and senryū.