8 Mar 2019 5:00pm - 7:00pm Room SG1 & SG2, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, CB3 9DT


gloknos is delighted to welcome Prof Rebecca Earle (University of Warwick) to present The Political Economy of Nutrition in the Eighteenth Century as part of our annual lecture series.

Eighteenth-century European writers frequently described foods as ‘nourishing’. What did they mean? Over a century would pass before scientists elaborated a nutritional paradigm that quantified food’s nutritive qualities. Healthful food was of central importance to eighteenth-century conceptions of national strength and prosperity, but neither statesmen nor scientists could agree on objective, quantifiable methods for evaluating a food’s potential to nourish. As a result, the embodied experience of plebeian eaters remained a central measure of a food’s status as nourishing. As a result, elite programmes to promote particular foodstuffs as suitable for the labouring population relied not simply on the expert opinions of doctors and scientists, but also on the bodies and purported views of the very people at whom these campaigns were directed. With the rise of nutritional science in the late nineteenth century, the opinions of ordinary eaters lost their epistemic authority; during the eighteenth century the embodied experience of working people remained stubbornly central to learned discussions of the nature of nourishment.

Rebecca Earle is a historian of food, and of the cultural history of Spanish America and early modern Europe.

Attendance is free but spaces are limited, so please email to reserve your seat. Please be aware that we will take an audio recording of this event, which may include any questions and responses delivered by the audience.

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gloknos is initially funded for 5 years by the European Research Council through a Consolidator Grant awarded to Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya for her project ARTEFACT (2017-2022). ARTEFACT is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (ERC grant agreement no. 724451). For information about gloknos or ARTEFACT please contact the administrator in the first instance.


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Prof David Edgerton (King’s College London) – Turning the Global History of ‘Technology’ Upside Down: The Supremacy of Uruguay

4 December 2018

Prof Eleanor Robson (University College London) – Geographies of Knowledge in Ancient and Modern Iraq: The Nahrein Network and the Intellectual Infrastructure of Heritage

23 January 2019

Dr Sujit Sivasundaram (University of Cambridge) – In the Bay of Bengal: Modelling Empire, Globe and Self

In conjunction with the Centre for South Asian Studies Seminar Series

28 February 2019

Dr Erica Charters (University of Oxford) – Knowledge and War: Paper Technologies in Early Modern Empires

8 March 2019

Prof Rebecca Earle (University of Warwick) – The Political Economy of Nutrition in the Eighteenth Century

8 May 2019

Dr Johan Östling (University of Lund) – Circulating Public Knowledge: Towards a New History of the Postwar Humanities

14 June 2019

Dr Sonja Brentjes (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Berlin) – Heavens and Earth: An Empirical Approach to Knowledge Across Cultures 

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