ConvenorsPeter Berger - Institute of Indian studies, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Roland Hardenberg - Frobenius Institute, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
Sofia Filatova - Groningen Institute of Archaeology, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Cereals have been domesticated on almost every continent, and their cultivation and consumption have become fundamental components of food cultures around the world. Various changes in the spectrum of cultivation occurred over time, which had immense impacts on the respective communities. Contemporary choices will likewise influence future human trajectories. Awareness of declining crop diversity and agricultural practices, as well as the impact of climate change, has led to the promotion of nutritionally and environmentally beneficial cereal crops. In India, for example, the FAO-UN has declared 2023 as the “Year of Millets.” How exactly have changing grain preferences affected communities in the past? How does the current promotion of certain grains affect farming communities, their modes of production and consumption? How can we integrate past and current data on cereals to promote food security, food sovereignty, and biodiversity?
The goal of this panel is to understand the complexity of human engagement with cereals (e.g., crop selection, food production, crop competition). To this end, we consider symmetrical collaboration across disciplines and among different stakeholders to be essential. This raises the question of how plant research is influenced by regional or disciplinary traditions and by the multiple interdependencies between humans and cereals. We (anthropologists and archaeobotanists) invite contributions that address the various dimensions of cereal crops in South Asia (past and present) and, in conjunction, may reflect on potentials, challenges, and obstacles to multidirectional collaboration.
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Changing the narrative – moving beyond ‘proto-indica’ debates to think about the complexity of early rice use in India.
Agricultural diversification in Rural North-West India: Understanding Transitions and Its Socio-Ecological Implications
The maize fields of ‘Mini Swiss’: Tracing transitions in cereal farming among Tibetan refugees and host communities in southern Karnataka
Combining archaeology, ethnography, and modelling to understand the historical depth of millet exploitation in the Indus Valley
Madella Marco- Universitat Pompeu Fabra - ICREA, Humanities, Barcelona, Spain
‘Millets in the Milieu’: Mapping socio-cultural change amidst surging cash crop farming of millets and other crops among tribals of Odisha, India.
Kumar Ashutosh- University of Groningen, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen, The Netherlands
Bhattacharyya Shilanjani- University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt Germany
Eating Millets in Autumn: Memories of Farming, Crops and Hunger in East Central India.
Emerging valuations of cereal crops and their cultures in South and Central Asia
Kesavan Indhubala- University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
Kumar Suneet- University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
Utetileuova Togzhan- University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany