Wednesday, February 01, 2006


This Friday: Charlotte Biltekoff

Reminder: The new DHI Research Cluster for the Critical Studies of Food and Culture invites you to join us for our first event Friday, February 3rd at noon Come learn more about this new cluster and hear Charlotte Biltekoff present her work. Refreshments will follow the talk.

“Dietary Ideals / Social Ideals:
A Cultural Perspective on Food and

Charlotte Biltekoff

Postdoctoral Scholar in Food Science and
Technology and American Studies
University of California, Davis

Friday, February 3rd 12:00
Voorhies 228

This talk will explore the meaning of dietary health from a cultural and a historical perspective and show why it is important to understand the social role that dietary advice plays. It will consider the relationship between dietary ideals and social ideals in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present, focusing primarily on the World War II National Nutrition Program, a massive homefront nutrition education program. My central claim will be that the nutrition lessons promoted by wartime dietary reformers aimed not only for individual health but also for social well-being, and that wartime dietary ideals also delineated the boundaries of fitness for citizenship. Towards the end of the talk, we will reflect on how this historical perspective on dietary advice might help us to think about the social role of dietary ideals within the contemporary context of the obesity epidemic.

About the Speaker:
Charlotte Biltekoff is currently working on developing a cross-college program in food studies at the University of California at Davis, where she is a postdoctoral scholar with appointments in Food Science and Technology and American Studies. Her book project, “Hidden Hunger: Food, Health and Citizenship from the Late Nineteenth Century to the Obesity Epidemic” is a cultural history of the relationship between dietary ideals and social ideals in the United States. Charlotte recently completed her graduate work in American Civilization at Brown University. Prior to starting graduate school, she cooked at several restaurants in San Francisco and received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

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