Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, History, Loyola University Chicago

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Matters of Taste: The Politics of Food and Hunger in Occupied and Divided Germany

My manuscript traces the political and cultural economy of food in East and West Germany from the years of occupation through the Cold War and up to unification. By using food as its primary lens of analysis, this project develops a new analytical and methodological approach to understanding processes of modern state formation. It does so by exploring the ways in which food concerns, nutritional policies and hunger fantasies defined the history of the country that embodied the greatest fears and hopes of the twentieth century: Germany. My research reveals the interconnectedness of the GDR and the FRG and challenges many of the chronological and geographic divisions that have defined both German and Cold War historiography. It also highlights the ways in which ideas of gender, nation and race were implicated in the everyday food practices of the populations of the two German states. In other words, theories and practices of cooking, shopping, eating and feeding others were central to specifically postwar definitions of communism, capitalism, and democracy. Matters of Taste offers new insights not only into the history of the FRG and the GDR, but into the global networks that shaped and were shaped by World War II and the Cold War.