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Serin Quinn

History, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Love and Gold: A Comparative History of the Tomato in Britain and Italy, 1500-1900

I intend to tackle the prevailing assumption that foods and goods from the Americas were met with fear and rejection in Europe, and demonstrate that their presence and consumption – both physical and economic – was part of a larger culture of demand for the rare and exotic. I also intend to show that the understanding and use of the tomato in Europe was drawn from the knowledge and practices of the Aztecs, as a part of the larger cultural influence of Indigenous American cultures on early modern Europe.

Research Area

  • History




Co-organiser of the virtual conference 'You Are What You Eat: Food and Identity from the Middle Ages to the Modern', June 2021.


'Red and Gold: Tomatoes, Ornamental Plants, and Knowledge in Europe, 1544-1750', at the 7th International Conference on Food History and Food Studies, in Tours, France, June 2022.

‘"The Most Delicate Rootes": Sweet Potatoes and the English Consumption of the New World, 1560-1650' at the Newberry Multidisciplinary Graduate Conference in Premodern Studies, January 2022.

'Red and Gold: Tomatoes as Ornamental Plants, 1500-1800' at the Warwick Early Modern History Workshop, November 2021.

'“The Spanish Potato, he holds as a bauble”: New World Foods and the Early Modern English Body' at Warwick's History Post Graduate Conference, May 2021.

'Consumption as a Point of Contention: Aphrodisiacs in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century Print' at the Dresden-Warwick Workshop 'Media and Public (Dis)order', March 2021.

Public Engagement & Impact

As part of the Coventry City of Culture/Warwick Resonate 'FEAST!' program, I have helped organise the Berkswell Feast Food Fair event, as part of which I have spoken about festive drinks and the history of hot chocolate, video available here.

Other Research Interests

My primary research interest is in food and drink history in the medieval and early modern periods. For my MA dissertation I researched the role of the potato as a luxury novelty food in late-sixteenth- and early-seventeenth- century England.
I am also interested in environmental history, the history of animals in particular, as well as material culture studies. 


I am a member of the Food and Drink History Reading Group at Warwick, as well as the Early Modern and Eighteenth Century Centre and the Global History and Culture Centre.

Academic Profile

2020-2024 – PhD, History, University of Warwick

2019-2020 – MA, Early Modern History, University of Warwick

2014-2018 – BA, History and Italian, University of Manchester 

Seminar tutor for

Caravans and Traders: Global Connections, 1200-1500 (HI2B8), Autumn 2021 term

Galleons and Galleys: Global Connections 1500-1800 (HI2C1), Spring 2022 term

Awards and Funding


2020/24 – Midlands4Cities AHRC Doctoral Studentship Award

2019/20 – History Department MA Bursary

              – Warwick Taught Masters Scholarship Scheme