HIST 410: Week 11

Chronic effects

Our investigations into the history of diet have been about what we are deliberately putting into our bodies. But what about stuff we’re putting into our bodies unknowingly? How can science study minute affects of certain chemicals in our bodies over long periods of time given the complexity and variety of everyone’s diets? BIG POINTS for this week.

Mon 10/26

Wed 10/28

This is the original assignment for Monday, totally unchanged, just slid into the Wednesday slot.

  • Ralph H. Lutts, “Chemical Fallout: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Radioactive Fallout, and the Environmental Movement.” Environmental Review 9.3 (1985): 211–25.
  • Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 5–13; 15–37.

We’re reading Lutts just for a bit of background about Carson and to understand her profound significance. It’s rare that one can trace or attribute a significant cultural change to a single person, but if it’s even possible, the most likely case is Rachel Carson as responsible for modern environmentalism. And it’s not about the environment for its own sake (also important!) but because it so dramatically affects our health.

Fri 10/30

  • McKay Jenkins, Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the America, 1–46 (Prologue; Are GMOs Safe?).