Thesis ID: CBB148954314

Farm to Pharmacy: Nutrition, Animals, and Governance in Britain 1870–1945 (2020)


Igra, Alma (Author)
Pedersen, Susan (Advisor)

Columbia University
Pedersen, Susan
Publication date: 2020
Language: English

Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 273

This dissertation examines the emergence of nutrition science in the 20th century and the first cohort of experts who practiced nutrition as a form of medical diplomacy. Unpacking pivotal case studies in Scotland, Iraq, Vienna, Geneva, and Oxford, the project shows how scientific knowledge was produced on a local scale. I argue that knowledge about food developed in Britain from the late 19th century to World War II in a contingent path that involved much more than “discoveries” in labs. It was the unique formation of this discipline across national, international, and imperial political spheres that produced scientific standards and methods. Nutrition enabled a powerful language of exchange, metamorphosis, and commensurability that were vital for British political world systems. My research, therefore, investigates nutrition not just as medical innovation, but as a revolution in ecology and politics: food science was a way to reimagine the earth and Britain’s place within it. Scientific nutrition began as a marginal sub-field of agricultural science and came to acquire a central place in the definition of human needs. I show how critical terms of human nutrition – productivity, growth, and vitality – emerged from the attempt to improve animal health and from imperial agricultural planning. Even when the science of food moved from farms to pharmacies, through standardized units and products like vitamin supplements, animals and non-human factors continued to shape nutritional concepts, standards, and policies.

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Authors & Contributors
Anker, Peder Johan
Arapostathis, Stathis
Benson, Etienne Samuel
Bleaney, B.
Bufton, Mark W.
Campopiano, Michele
Agricultural History
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Archives of Natural History
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Environment and History
University of Pennsylvania
Insegna del Giglio
Texas A&M University Press
University of Chicago Press
Food and foods
Science and society
Public health
Evelyn, John
Gibbon, Edward
Herder, Johann Gottfried
King, William
Lister, Martin
Raynal, Guillaume
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
20th century, late
21st century
Great Britain
Vienna (Austria)
Oxford University

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