20 Jan 2016 12:30pm - 2:00pm Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building


Dr Richard Stone (History, University of Bristol)
What is Cider?  What was Cider?  Recovering Seventeenth Century Material Culture

Dr Deborah Toner (History, University of Leicester)
Pulque and Pulquerías


Dr Richard Stone
What is Cider?  What was Cider?  Recovering Seventeenth Century Material Culture

What is cider?  With the rocketing of cider sales in recent years, and the development of a plethora of ‘fruit ciders’, this is a question to which the answer is not as clear as it might at first seem.  Does adding fruits other than apples make it a ‘wine’, and does filtering or adding preservatives somehow make it not ‘real’ and ‘traditional’ cider?  Drawing on the speaker’s experience as both a modern day cider maker and a historian, this paper seeks to uncover exactly what kind of drink(s) cider was, and how widely it was consumed in seventeenth century England.  In many ways this is a period which can be seen as the ‘Golden Age’ for cider, with many of the foremost minds of the fledgling Royal Society devoting their energies to refining what they saw potentially as England’s national drink, and a rival for foreign wines.  The writings of these men provide a window onto a remarkably diverse range of practices and products, and force us to reconsider our notions of what exactly is ‘traditional’, and indeed modern day legal definitions of ‘cider’.

Dr Deborah Toner
Pulque and Pulquerías

The history of pulque is in many ways the history of Mexico. It is a material product—an alcoholic drink totally unlike any other—that reveals shifts in the ways that Mexico’s intangible and culturally diverse heritage has been understood and experienced by different social and ethnic groups within Mexico, and by non-Mexicans around the world. However, it is a product with which many people, especially outside of Mexico, are deeply unfamiliar and one whose future is uncertain.
This paper will reflect on the distinctive materiality of pulque and pulquerías—bars in which pulque has been sold since the sixteenth century—at different moments in Mexico’s history. This will enable an exploration of the very different social functions and cultural meanings that pulque has embodied over time, as well thinking about why it has been both popular and controversial throughout Mexico’s history.


Open to all.  No registration required
Part of Things-(Re)constructing the Material World Research Group, series

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