I am passionate about food. But not just the food we cook, eat, and enjoy as humans. I care about the food we feed to our non-human companions. Sometimes it is the same stuff (thinking about the scraps we share with our pet dogs and with the microbes in our stomachs), but sometimes it’s different. Documenting our awareness of feeding others in science-making and policy-building is a large component of my doctoral research. Through the collection of historical documents and the production of ethnographic material, I hope to provide some insight into the political, ecological, economic, and overall cultural dimensions of food and feeding.
I identify as both a historian and anthropologist – using methods from both disciplines to explore how health becomes used and redefined through human interactions with the non-human world, and through powers like the State. In addition to my current project on animal feed, I continue to study Amish life and use ethnographic work from over the years to make sense of messy interactions between religion and science. Through my work, I hope to demonstrate the many ways the non-human world is understood, the filters through which it is regulated, and how it often responds and regulates us. I argue that these interactions come to define ideas like “health,” “hope,” “life,” and “future” in various ways, and that the history of these terms help us make sense of their current weight.