HIST 410: Week 4

Natural and Moral Diets of the 1800s

The dietary advice we saw directly primarily toward the upper classes in the previous week moves into the emerging middle class in the early 19th century. In particular, physicians and moral reformers see diets changing as a result of industrialization and urbanization as a distinct societal ill. We look at how moral and dietary advice become even more tightly coupled throughout the 1800s. Later in the course, we’ll see how that link has persisted into the present day.

Mon 9/07 (Labor Day)

Tue 9/08

  • BRIEF LECTURE: Mostly a review lecture with a BRIEF intro to 19th-century diet (link TBP; also via the course YouTube Channel)

  • EXTRA CREDIT Lecture quiz (via Learn as always) due WEDNESDAY NIGHT. Like the lecture, this is mostly course review, but a little bit on diet stuff for this week. This quiz is OPTIONAL. If you don’t want extra points, don’t take this quiz! That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but the points are EXTRA.

Wed 9/09

  • Adam D. Shprintzen, The Vegetarian Crusade, Chapter 1: Proto-vegetarianism, 10-27; 32-38. This chapter briefly describes some early religious sentiments supporting vegetarianism, but most importantly (and the main reason we’re reading it), it introduces Sylvester Graham and his historical context (who we’ll read on Friday).

Questions to keep in mind while reading: How did Graham establish his authority as a dietary reformer? How was cholera related to his success and thinking about diet? How was Graham’s argument for a meat-free diet different from the Bible Christians discussed early in the chapter?

Fri 9/11