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Calories, Vitamins and Nutritional Science

Questions to Consider While Reading

Explain the emergence of nutrition as a modern science.

To what extent does nutritional science provide a tool for criticising working-class eating practices? To what extent does it reinforce racial or ethnic prejudices?

If you happened to read the piece by Gyorgy Scrinis, what does he mean by 'nutritionism'?

What are your memories of school cookery classes?


Please read two items from this list.

Aguilar, Sandra, ‘Cooking Modernity: Nutrition Policies, Class, and Gender in 1940s and 1950s Mexico City’, The Americas 64:2 (2007), 177-205.*
Biltekoff, Charlotte, Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health (Durham, 2013), chapters 1-2.*
Cullather, Nick, ‘The Foreign Policy of the Calorie’, American Historical Review 112:2 (2007).*
Pohl-Valero, Stefan, ‘“La raza entra por la boca”: Energy, Diet, and Eugenics in Colombia, 1890-1940’, Hispanic American Historical Review 94:3 (2014).*
Scrinis, Gyorgy, 'On the Ideology of Nutritionism', Gastronomica 8:1 (2008).

Shapiro, Laura, Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century (New York, 1986), Prologue and Introduction.

Swislocki, Mark, ‘Nutritional Governmentality. Food and the Politics of Health in Late Imperial and Republican China’, Radical History Review 110 (2011).

* Sign into the Warwick Library Catalogue to access the electronic version.

To Learn More

Borrero, Mauricio, 'Communal Dining and State Cafeterias in Moscow and Petrograd, 1917-1921', Food in Russian History, eds. Musya Glants and Joyce Toomre (Bloomington, 1997).

Drinot, Paulo, ‘Food, Race and Working-Class Identity: Restaurantes Populares and Populism in 1930s Peru’, The Americas 62:2 (2005), pp. 245-70.*

Gastropod, 'Easy A: The SuperRad Story of Home Economics', 13 April 2021,

Helstocky, Carole, ‘The State, Health, and Nutrition’, Cambridge World History of Food, eds. Kenneth Kiple and Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas (Cambridge, 2001), part 2.*

Mudry, Jessica, Measured Meals: Nutrition in America (Albany, 2009).
Rabinbach, Anson, The Human Motor: Energy, Fatigue and the Origins of Modernity (Berkeley, 1992).

Rich, Jeremy. A Workman is Worthy of his Meat: Food and Colonialism in the Gabon Estuary (Lincoln, 2007)
Simmons, Dana, Vital Minimum: Need, Science and Politics in Modern France (Chicago, 2015).*

Smith, David, 'The Politics of Food and Nutrition Policies', The Handbook of Food Research, eds. Anne Murcott, Warren Belasco and Peter Jackson (London, 2013).
Treitel, Corinna, ‘Max Rubner and the Biopolitics of Rational Nutrition’, Central European History 41 (2008).*

Worboys, Michael, ‘The Discovery of Colonial Malnutrition between the Wars’, Imperial Medicine and Indigenous Societies, ed. David Arnold (Manchester, 1988), 208-25.

* Sign into the Warwick Library Catalogue to access the electronic version.