Alice Weinreb - "Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth-Century Germany" - Leora Auslander

Event Presenter/Author: 
Alice Weinreb & Leora Auslander

Alice Weinreb discusses Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth-Century Germany. She will be joined in conversation by Leora Auslander.

At the Co-op

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About the book: During World War I and II, modern states for the first time experimented with feeding--and starving--entire populations. Within the new globalizing economy, food became intimately intertwined with waging war, and starvation claimed more lives than any other weapon. As Alice Weinreb shows in Modern Hungers, nowhere was this new reality more significant than in Germany, which struggled through food blockades, agricultural crises, economic depressions, and wartime destruction and occupation at the same time that it asserted itself as a military, cultural, and economic powerhouse of Europe. The end of armed conflict in 1945 did not mean the end of these military strategies involving food. Fears of hunger and fantasies of abundance were instead reframed within a new Cold War world. During the postwar decades, Europeans lived longer, possessed more goods, and were healthier than ever before. This shift was signaled most clearly by the disappearance of famine from the continent. So powerful was the experience of post-1945 abundance that it is hard today to imagine a time when the specter of hunger haunted Europe, demographers feared that malnutrition would mean the end of whole nations, and the primary targets for American food aid were Belgium and Germany rather than Africa. Yet under both capitalism and communism, economic growth as well as social and political priorities proved inseparable from the modern food system. Drawing on sources ranging from military records to cookbooks to economic and nutritional studies from a multitude of archives, Modern Hungers reveals similarities and striking ruptures in popular experience and state policy relating to the industrial food economy. In so doing, it offers historical perspective on contemporary concerns ranging from humanitarian food aid to the gender-wage gap to the obesity epidemic.

About the author: Alice Weinreb (PhD, University of Michigan, 2009; M.A., Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 2003; B.A., Columbia University, 1999) is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. She has published articles on food and hunger in Nazi and Postwar Germany in the Zeitschrift für Körpergeschichte, Central European History, and German Studies Review. Her first book, Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth Century Germany, came out with Oxford University Press in June 2017. She is currently working on a new project on the emergence of a specifically German conception of a clean and healthy environment. 

About the interlocutor: Leora Auslander is Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization at the University of Chicago.  She has been a visiting professor at the Frankel Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Michigan, at the E.H.E.S.S. and the Université de Paris, VII in France, as well as a guest researcher at the Max Planck Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen, at the Graduate Center for the Study of Culture in Giessen, and at the University of Potsdam in Germany, and held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study and the Center for Research in the Behavioral Sciences in the United States. Her publications include: Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in Britain, North America, and France; Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France;  “Negotiating Embodied Difference: Veils, Minarets, Kippas and Sukkot in Contemporary Europe,” in Archiv für Sozialgeschichte; “Looking Across the Threshold: Persistence as Experiment in Time, Space, and Genre," in Postwar: The Films of Daniel Eisenberg; and many more. Most recently she co-edited an issue of the French gender history journal Clio, entitled Judaïsme(s). She is currently at work on a book, Home-making: Jewish Parisians and Berliners in the Twentieth Century.

 

 

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637