Please join us in welcoming back former Post Doctoral Fellow Dr. Lisa Haushofer for this latest and virtual installment of Culinaria's annual series of seminars and speakers. Dr. Haushofer is a historian of science, food, and economic life, as well as the co-founder of "Remedia," a collaborative blog project focused on making quality scholarship on the medical humanities accessible to the public. Her talk will focus on a chapter from her latest book project, entitled "Wonder Foods: The Science and Commerce of Nutrition."
“Wonder Foods” explores how commercial products came to play a central role in the sciences of nutrition and in the cultural valence of food. It tells the history of a complex entanglement between nutrition and products, between the production of nutritional scientific knowledge and the making of nutritional products.
Between 1840 and 1940, experts and entrepreneurs in Britain and the United States forged new connections between the nutrition sciences and the commercial realm through their enthusiasm for new kinds of edible consumables such as Gail Borden’s Meat Biscuit, Benger’s Food, Kellogg’s Health Foods, Fleischmann’s Yeast, and Wonder Bread. Such products, they hoped, would nourish their respective empires and growing populations more efficiently and solve a whole host of social, economic, and political problems.
“Wonder Foods” analyzes these five products to understand how experts and entrepreneurs brought a convergence of questions about how to nourish bodies and how to organize empires, states, and economies. In so doing, Wonder Foods insists that the story of modern food and nutrition was not so much about seemingly innocuous technological advances or superior scientific insights. Instead, it was about the powerful logics of exploitation and economization which undergirded colonial and industrial food projects and which shaped modern food regimes.
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