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Past Event


Saturday University: Soybean Worlds

Feb 9 2019

Seattle Art Museum

Plestcheeff Auditorium

10 AM – 11:30 AM

Soybean Worlds
Jia-chen Fu, Emory University

In a time of rapid change in China during the late-19th early 20th centuries, how did global economic conditions reshape Chinese scientific and medical enthusiasm for the soybean? Soybeans had been thought of as a famine crop, a base for fertilizer, a source for cooking, lubrication, and lighting. Then newer, techno-scientific visions of the soybean came in, establishing it as a global industrial commodity and modern foodstuff.

To leave behind its international image as the “Land of Famine,” China sought to develop the great potential of this nutritious and domestically-grown miracle plant. The soybean captivated the attention of late Qing, early Republican intellectuals, because it portended a brave, new world driven by technological innovation, yet still organically tied to a notion of Chineseness.

About the Presenter

Jia-chen Fu is Associate Professor of Chinese at Emory University, and author of The Other Milk: Soy, Science, and Sovereignty in Modern China (2018, University of Washington Press). The Other Milk explores the curious paths that led to the notion of the deficient Chinese diet and to soybean milk as the way to guarantee food security for the masses. Jia-Chen Fu's in-depth examination of the intertwined relationships between diet, health, and nation illuminates the multiple forces that have been essential in the formation of nutrition science in China.

Please note: South Hall doors open at 9:30 am.


JAN 19

The Harmonic Forest: Musical Structures Heard as Trees

JAN 26

The First Satyagraha: Gandhi's Campaign Against Indigo Plantations in Early 20th-Century India


The Story of the Camellia


Soybean Worlds

FEB 16

Jute and Peasant Life in the Bengal Delta


Durian and Landscape Change in West Kalimantan, Indonesia


The Japanese Basket 1845–1958: Mirror of Modernity



Full series tickets: $73; SAM members $39
SAVE: winter and spring series: $120; SAM members $62
Individual lecture tickets available at the door: $11, SAM members $6; free at the door for students with ID
Please arrive to your seat 10 minutes before the program starts, or your seat may be released.

Photo: Kyle Spradley, Creative Commons License.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.