Adrienne Rose Bitar

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of History, Cornell University
Dissertation Title
Diet and the Disease of Civilization, 1975-2015
Adrienne Rose Bitar

I specialize in the history and culture of American food and health.  At Cornell, I teach courses in the History Department titled "Food in America," "Consumer Culture,” and "The History of Health.”  My first book, Diet and the Disease of Civilization, was published in January 2018 by Rutgers University Press.

The first full-length study of diet books, Diet and the Disease of Civilization reveals how 20th century diets have articulated a powerful response to anxieties about the psychic and physical costs of modernity, crafting new stories positioning civilization itself as a disease and diet as the cure.  Following an imaginary chronology of human origins, the book examines Paleolithic diets, biblical diets, precolonial diets, and environmentalist detoxification programs. 
Modern Thought and Literature was absolutely indispensable to my intellectual growth.  My advisor, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, set the gold standard for mentorship and support.  My dissertation committee – Shelley Fisher Fishkin (English), Bryan Wolf (Art History, now emeritus) and Estelle Freedman (History)  -- was a model of interdisciplinary scholarship and brilliant, adventurous thought.