A new book by Dr. Lauren Janes of the Hope College history faculty explores how attitudes toward food have reflected France’s attitude toward its colonial empire.
Janes, an assistant professor of history, is the author of “Colonial Food in Interwar Paris: The Taste of Empire” (Bloomsbury Publishing), which challenges the claim that empire was central to modern French identity. Instead, Janes argues that the distrust of colonial food, from Indochinese rice to North African grains and tropical fruit to curry powder, reflected French society’s disinterest in the empire. Although it focuses on the period between the First World War and the Second World War, the book includes an analysis of the role of food in contemporary debates about the place of Muslims in France today.
Historian Martin Thomas has termed “Colonial Food” “remarkable,” while Ken Albala, a leading historian of European food history, has called the book “an absolutely fascinating study of the impact of colonial food on France between the wars, which emphasizes beautifully how food both defines Frenchness but also how it is used to exclude the other.”
Janes graduated from Hope College in 2004 having majored in history, religion and French. After completing her doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she returned to Hope in 2013 as a member of the faculty in the Department of History, where she teaches world history, African history and food history.
She was named a Towsley Research Scholar by Hope in January. This May she will teach co-teach a new course in Paris, “Art, History, and Meaning in Contemporary Global Paris,” with Dr. Heidi Kraus, assistant professor of art and art history.
“Colonial Food in Interwar Paris: The Taste of Empire” is available in hardcover for $112 and can be ordered through the college’s Hope-Geneva Bookstore. The bookstore is located on the ground level of the DeWitt Center, 141 E. 12th St., and can be called at 800-946-4673 or (616) 395-7833 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. The book is also available in electronic form through the publisher.