Steven Shapin: The Long History of Dietetics: Thinking about Food, Expertise, and the Self

Network Node: 
Fri., Sep. 30, 2011, 7:00pm

Video available HERE

The Situating Science Atlantic Node is pleased to support the LIVE STREAMING of the Science and Technology Studies (STS) 4th annual lecture at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick:

"The Long History of Dietetics: Thinking about Food, Expertise, and the Self"

Steven Shapin, Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University
7pm ADT, Sept. 30, 2011
Kinsella Auditorium, McCain Hall, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick



A survey of dietetics as a perspicuous research site: (1) Changing ideas of who we are via changing ideas about the relationship between the characteristics of aliment and characteristics of people; (2) Changing relationships between the categories of the medical, on the one hand, and the moral, on the other; (3) Changing engagements between the knowledge of aliment possessed by experts and that owned by laypeople. I survey aspects of Galenic medical dietetics from Antiquity through the early modern period, and indicate some of the cultural and social consequences of the decline of that traditional culture and the rise of “nutrition science” in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I use these materials to describe some of the key aspects of the modern condition: we are connected to the edible world in different ways than we once were; we distribute instrumental and moral knowledge differently; and we have new conditions of authority and credibility for expert knowledge which is of concern to the texture of our quotidian lives.

Photo credit: Photo Courtesy of Globe Newspaper Company / Jonathan Wiggs © 2008

Press Release HERE