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Anil Paralkar, PhD, Heidelberg University

Spicing up Life – Food, Purity and (Pre-)Colonial Hegemonies in the Indian-European Cultural Exchange, 15th to 17th Century

I am a PhD student at Heidelberg University in the field of early modern history. I received my MA from Munich University in 2013, after which I started my project at the Cluster ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ in Heidelberg. My research focuses on the encounter between Europe and South Asia in regard of food and foodways during the 15th to 17th centuries. While foodways as symbols of distinction between cultures have been emphasized during this encounter, they also influenced the construction of culinary and physical alterities between social group categories like ‘race’, ‘religion’ or ‘ethnicity’. I investigate the concepts of purity attributed to foodways in the cultural exchange between the two parts of the world to show, how culinary alterities added to an understanding of different corporalities and how this created concepts of physical as well as mental superiorities. My broader research interests lie in food history, postcolonial and transcultural theory and global history.


Aino Haavisto, MA student, University of Helsinki

Optimizing the Learning Order of Japanese Characters Algorithmically

My MA thesis focuses the learning of the Japanese writing system and especially the kanji, morphografic script consisting of more than 2000 characters. There are many proposed learning orders for the kanji, but sorting the characters to an easy-to-learn order by computational algorithm has hardly been investigated. With computational approach it is possible to sort characters hierarchically (components before compounds) and at the same time prioritize frequent characters to learn them as soon as possible. I am studying both Japan studies in the Faculty of Arts and computer science in the Faculty of Science, so it was natural to find a topic where I could combine both of my study fields.