Colloque – From Book to Field – from Field to Book. Entangled Theory and Practice in Dietetics and Agriculture (c. 1300–1600 CE)

31.03.2022 – 02.04.2022

Man-made climate change has recently led to intense debates on agriculture, food production and consumption. Industrial agriculture and livestock farming are criticised for contributing to global warming. Alternative approaches are developing and new forms of interaction between humans and nature are emerging. Simultaneously, modern technologies and media are substantially changing ways of accessing dietetic information and methods of acquiring food. This is not an unprecedented issue in human history. In the past, times of change have triggered profound transformation processes in economic practices and consumer behaviour.

Among other factors, climatic trends since the onset of the Little Ice Age (c. 1300), the Great Famine (1315–1317) or the Black Death (1347–1352) led to changing social conditions, which had an impact on agriculture as well as pomi- and viticulture. Through humanism and the media revolution of the 15th century, classical literature was translated into vernacular languages becoming more accessible to a broader group of recipients. Culinary customs and dietetics have therefore been the subject of German Medieval Studies in the recent past. Ancient knowledge about agronomy and dietetics was not only copied, but also supplemented with relevant information about weather-related requirements and growing phases of certain plants. Via the Columbian Exchange food from the New World (e.g. maize, peppers) was introduced in the Old World and added to specialist literature such as Leonhart Fuchs’ New Kreüterbuch (1543). Noble marriage alliances between families from different regions changed eating habits, which required new types of cultivation (e.g., asparagus). Due to their intellectual, economic and manorial capacities courts, cities and monasteries can be described as ‘sites of condensed knowledge’. Expertise was likely to be found at these sites and distributed from there. However, the relationship between traditional knowledge, early forms of empirical approaches and practical experience (e.g., local knowledge) needs to be discussed critically. Were these forms combined to something new or did certain forms of knowledge prevail and if so, under what conditions? We generally assume that new forms of interaction with the biophysical environment could have emerged, which can be understood as Socio-Natural Sites in the sense of the Viennese school of environmental history.

The conference would like to take a look behind these processes and interacting dynamics. The aim is to clarify questions of the appropriation and distribution of knowledge, and to discuss their effects on social change during the period of c. 1300–1600: To what extent did vernacular literature help to bring knowledge ‘from book to field’ (or vice versa) in particular and to what extent did new knowledge and new practices lead to transformations of ecosystems?

The conference will be held in Lorsch and simultaneously be streamed via Zoom. If you are interested in a digital participation, please contact Dr Stephan Ebert by 20 March 2022:

Programme :

Thursday, 31 March 2022

12 p.m. [CET] arrival
1 p.m. welcome

Section 1: Vom Buch aufs Feld I – Volkssprachen und der Einfluss neuer Medien / From Book to Field I – Vernacular Languages and the Influence of New Media
Chair: Jürgen Wolf (Marburg)

1:30 p.m.
Helmut W. Klug / Astrid Böhm (Graz): Kochrezeptsammlungen als Spiegel von Ernährungsgewohnheiten. Zum Erkenntnispotential einer Quellengattung
2:15 p.m.
Thomas Gloning (Giessen): Landwirtschaftliche Literatur in deutscher Sprache vom Mittelalter bis um ca. 1600

3 p.m. coffee break

3:30 p.m.
Christian Stadelmaier (Giessen): Verdichtungsorte von Wissen? Niederlassungen der Zisterzienser und ihr Umfeld mit Fokus auf das frühe 14. Jahrhundert
4:15 p.m.
Stefan Sonderegger (Zurich): Landwirtschaftliche Spezialisierungen in der südlichen Bodenseeregion im Spätmittelalter. Voraussetzungen, Akteure und Auswirkungen

6 p.m. keynote (in English)
Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Vienna): New Crops for the New Rome? Tradition, Innovation and Dynamics of Agriculture in the Byzantine Empire and the (late) Medieval Eastern Mediterranean / Neue Früchte für das neue Rom? Tradition, Innovation und Dynamik der Landwirtschaft im Byzantinischen Reich und im (spät-)mittelalterlichen östlichen Mittelmeerraum

8 p.m. dinner

Friday, 1 April 2022

9 a.m. arrival

Section 2: Vom Buch aufs Feld II – Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Gartenbau in Theorie (und Praxis) / From Book to Field II – Dietetics, Agriculture and Horticulture in Theory (and Practice)
Chair: Volkhard Huth (Bensheim/Darmstadt)

9:15 a.m.
Dominic Olariu (Marburg): Botanik am Übergang von der Handschrift zum Druckwerk. Pflanzenillustrationen in Kräuterbüchern des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts
10:00 a.m.
Ansgar Schanbacher (Göttingen): Gärten und Ackerbau in religiösen Kontexten des 16. Jahrhunderts

10:45 a.m. coffee break

11 a.m.
Maximilian Schuh (Berlin): Grundherrschaft in Theorie und Praxis. Landnutzung und -verwaltung in der didaktischen Literatur zur Landwirtschaft in England zu Beginn des 14. Jahrhunderts
11:45 a.m.
Stephan F. Ebert (Darmstadt): Vom Buch aufs Feld? Zur praktischen Rezeption von ‚Fachliteratur‘ im deutschsprachigen Raum des ausgehenden Mittelalters

12:30 p.m. lunch

Section 3: Vom Feld ins Buch – Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Gartenbau in Praxis (und Theorie) / From Field to Book – Dietetics, Agriculture and Horticulture in Practice (and Theory)
Chair: Rainer Schreg (Bamberg)

2 p.m.
Julian Wiethold (Metz): Landwirtschaft, Weinbau und Ernährung im Spätmittelalter und zu Beginn der Frühen Neuzeit (1300–1600). Neue archäobotanische Ergebnisse aus Lothringen, Ostfrankreich
2:45 p.m.
Andreas Dix (Bamberg): Sonderkulturen als historisch-geographisches Problem – Das Fallbeispiel Bamberg seit dem Spätmittelalter

3:30 p.m. coffee break

4 p.m. excursion Freilichtlabor Lauresham / Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology

7 p.m. evening lecture (in German)
Gerrit J. Schenk (Darmstadt): Gartenbau und Sonderkulturen am Oberrhein. Vom Lorscher Arzneibuch bis zum Pfälzer Duwak / Horticulture and special crops on the Upper Rhine. From the Lorsch Pharmacopoeia to the Palatinate Duwak

8:30 p.m. dinner

Saturday, 2 April 2022

9 a.m. arrival

Section 4: Globale Perspektiven / Global Perspectives
Chair: Stefan Knost (Halle)

9:15 a.m.
Antonio Sánchez de Mora (Seville): Documents from Spanish Archives to Study the Changes in American Agriculture, Ecosystems and Food during the Early Modern Age
10 a.m.
Fabian Kümmeler (Vienna): Granoturco (Maize) and the Columbian Exchange. Agriculture, Pastoralism, and Society in Premodern Southeast Europe

10:45 coffee break

11 a.m.
Chun Xu (Berlin): Terraforming the Mongol-Yuan Metropole. Yu Ji and His Campaign for Riziculture in Littoral Metropole
11:45 a.m.
summary und final discussion

12:30 p.m. refreshment / snacks

End of conference

Source : H-Soz-Kult

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