Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice (California Studies in Food and Culture #58) (Paperback)

Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice (California Studies in Food and Culture #58) By E. Melanie DuPuis Cover Image
Email or call for price


Throughout American history, ingestion (eating) has functioned as a metaphor for interpreting and imagining this society and its political systems. Discussions of American freedom itself are pervaded with ingestive metaphors of choice (what to put in) and control (what to keep out). From the country’s founders to the abolitionists to the social activists of today, those seeking to form and reform American society have cast their social-change goals in ingestive terms of choice and control. But they have realized their metaphors in concrete terms as well, purveying specific advice to the public about what to eat or not. These conversations about “social change as eating” reflect American ideals of freedom, purity, and virtue.

Drawing on social and political history as well as the history of science and popular culture, Dangerous Digestion examines how American ideas about dietary reform mirror broader thinking about social reform. Inspired by new scientific studies of the human body as a metabiome—a collaboration of species rather than an isolated, intact, protected, and bounded individual—E. Melanie DuPuis invokes a new metaphor—digestion—to reimagine the American body politic, opening social transformations to ideas of mixing, fermentation, and collaboration. In doing so, the author explores how social activists can rethink politics as inclusive processes that involve the inherently risky mixing of cultures, standpoints, and ideas.

About the Author

E. Melanie DuPuis is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies and Science at Pace University. She is author of Natures Perfect Food: How Milk Became Americas Drink, among other books.

Praise For…

"Dangerous Digestion is provocative and frequently fascinating, and its expansive consideration of dietary reform contributes in important ways to recent scholarship on food advice."
— The Chronicle of Higher Education

Product Details
ISBN: 9780520287488
ISBN-10: 0520287487
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: December 1st, 2015
Pages: 232
Language: English
Series: California Studies in Food and Culture