Kaoru (Kay) Ueda

Curator of the Japanese Diaspora Initiative, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

  • Title Curator of the Japanese Diaspora Initiative, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • Education PhD 2015, Archaeology
    Boston University

Areas of Interest

Food and foodways in Southeast Asia; Trade networks of the Indian Ocean; Colonialism; Hybridization; Globalization

Research Interests & Fieldwork

I study food and foodways in Southeast Asia, especially in Java, Indonesia. My research method is multi-faceted, combining archaeological, documentary, and ethnographic sources to bring together otherwise fragmentary pieces of information to reconstruct past diet in Southeast Asia. I conduct artifact analysis of cooking vessels to better understand cooking methods. Phytolith (silica remains of plants) study holds the key to recover direct evidence of plant-based diet in the tropics of Southeast Asia, where organic remains are often poorly preserved. This type of research is relatively new in Southeast Asian archaeology and I aim to contribute baseline data to the field.


I conduct excavations at the Banten Lama Archaeological Complex, Java, Indonesia, directed by Naniek Harkantiningsih from the Indonesian National Centre for Archaeological Research (Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi National). This is an international collaborative project partnering with the Nalanda Sriwijaya Centre of Singapore at the Institute of Southeast  Asian Studies.


“Consumption of Chinese and European Ceramics at the Sultanate of Banten, Java from the Seventeenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries: Material Culture of Early Colonialism,” presented at the “Early Navigation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Maritime Archaeological Perspective” Symposium at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Cambridge MA 2013.

“The Petrographic Analysis On Earthenwares Excavated At 17th to 18th-Century Banten Lama, Java, Indonesia: The Sultan’s Power Negotiation amid European Colonialism,” co-authored with Sonny Wibisono and Zhengdong Guo and presented at 77th Annual Meeting of Society for American Archaeology, Memphis, TN, April 2012.

“A Global Site, Global Perspectives: Preliminary Excavation Results of a the 17th to 18th century Surosowan Palace and Fort Diamond in Banten Lama, Java, Indonesia,” invited to present at Seminar on Historical Archaeology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, December 2011.

“Food and Foodways of 17th- 18th century Banten, Indonesia: Colonized Sultan’s Sumptuous Feasts and Colonizing Dutch Soldiers’ Frugal Diet,” co-authored with Sonny Wibisono and presented at the Society of Historical Archaeology 2011 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Austin, TX, January 2011.

“Landscape and Cosmology: Their Interactive Relationship in the Sultanate of Banten, Java, Indonesia” presented at the Ninth Biennial Open Forum for Graduate Students at Boston University, February 2010.

“Food Taboos in Java and their Relationship with newly-Introduced Foods” presented at the 4th Asian Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore at the National University of Singapore, July 2009.

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