Blog Posts

The following is a selection of personal blog posts completed during my graduate school education (primarily between 2014-2018) to improve on my communication and writing skills. As an educator, I advocate for academic transparency and share these posts to illustrate change and growth over time.

  • Animal Obituaries - I wrote about Gigi in March last year. Gigi was the highest producing milk cow in the world before she was surpassed by Ever-Green-View My Gold-ET in 2017. As I wrote about Gigi, I wondered about exceptional animals and everyday animals;...
  • The Exam List Challenge - This year it was difficult for me to explain to friends and family what I was up to.  My shorthand was, “I’m studying.”  But preparing for doctoral qualifying exams seems like a lot more than just “studying.”  It was a challenge in time management, information synthesis, and really a wake-up call to the amount ofContinue reading "The Exam List Challenge"
  • Writing Reflections: Cutting Back the Forest - This week, I had the pleasure to contribute to Nursing Clio‘s “Bites of History” section.  For those unaware, Nursing Clio is a collaborative academic blog that has gained a great bit of traction in the academic world.  It is a site for innovative academic writing and for bite-sized (pun totally intended) blog posts engaged withContinue reading "Writing Reflections: Cutting Back the Forest"
  • Thinking with Gingerbread - I’m not vegan.  This is something that confused the students I spoke with earlier this year in a Feminism and Veganism presentation, and it may confuse some of my fellow food historians and food colleagues.  This is due to two main realities I grapple with in my research: 1) humans have a long history with dairyContinue reading "Thinking with Gingerbread"
  • Feminism and Veganism - On Tuesday, November 15th I had the amazing opportunity to speak with students from the Penn Vegan Society and the Penn Association for Gender Equity (PAGE).  My presentation focused on visual representations in both dairy advertising and vegan advocacy; where women’s bodies have been used to re-instantiate gender norms, challenge them, and/or challenge the normalization/naturalizationContinue reading "Feminism and Veganism"
  • Animals in the Archives Symposium - I encountered two animals in the archive my first day conducting research this summer.  The first was a mouse.  As I opened my very first box from a collection in Pennsylvania, pulled by the archivists for my viewing pleasure, I happened upon some torn paper.  A loose scroll was shredded.  As I lifted it forContinue reading "Animals in the Archives Symposium"
  • Why Academics Should Tweet More - If you're not already convinced - let me show you the advantages of being a "Twitterstorian."
  • Reflections from Amish 2016 - Part of my research includes the collection of different perspectives of nutritional health and welfare from different kinds of people.  Though I work primarily with “modern” American farmers and veterinarians, I’m always interested in what different cultural groups have to say about human and animal health.  When I was completing my Master’s degree, for example,Continue reading "Reflections from Amish 2016"
  • Where’s the beef? (or, where have the food blogs gone?) - One-woman blogs are difficult to maintain.  I started this blog primarily to share some fun ideas about food and farming and as an outlet to work on my writing.  If you are a follower and have been wondering where the heck I’ve been, I’ve found different writing outlets and different spaces to share work sinceContinue reading "Where’s the beef? (or, where have the food blogs gone?)"
  • Writing about Gigi - Producing an animal history is a tricky endeavor.  It is sometimes very difficult to find animals in historical archives – and if they are there they are often left anonymous and passive.  Animals only make the archive when they are written about by humans, and as someone interested in producing a history of animals I oftenContinue reading "Writing about Gigi"
  • Vegan Dogs - Dogs have been the ultimate animal companion to humans for thousands of years.  Dogs are said to be the first animal domesticated by humans, well before cows, goats, or sheep.  Anthropologists argue that dogs were used by early hunter-gatherers, with the divergence of “dogs” from “wolves” thought to occur sometime around 35,000 years ago.  TheContinue reading "Vegan Dogs"
  • Applying human rights to food animal bodies: A problem of perspective? - A few weeks ago, I received this Facebook message from a good friend of mine: “I saw a video about dairy industries, I knew [about] most things, but they are horrible… I sent it to you just if you want to talk about some of them some time… you are the person who know[s] moreContinue reading "Applying human rights to food animal bodies: A problem of perspective?"
  • Candlemas and Furry Weathermen - For those still hiding in an underground burrow after the “big snow” last week, you may not have known that yesterday was Groundhog Day.  Every February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil (the Pennsylvania groundhog) emerges from his den and his Inner Circle of humans interpret his weather prediction for the weeks to come.  Phil can either announceContinue reading "Candlemas and Furry Weathermen"
  • Defining Natural - Public comment dockets have become an interesting space for policy makers and the public to engage in conversations with one another about various issues in public health.  The ever-developing internet has allowed dockets to take on a life of their own – public comments submitted in almost a blog post format for perusal.   If youContinue reading "Defining Natural"
  • Farm Show Features Families: Both human and animal - Livestock shows have provided an opportunity for farmers to come together and appreciate their shared knowledge of animals since the 18th century.  Though arguably initially organized to promote ideals held about animals by the aristocracy, particularly in England, by the end of the 19th century shows were spaces where ordinary farmers could trade information aboutContinue reading "Farm Show Features Families: Both human and animal"
  • Milk Mustache Misconceptions - Satire can be a fun way to express the contradictions, controversies, and disturbing intricacies of our political culture.  I consider myself to be fan of satire, and The Simpsons one among my favorite cartoons poking fun at contemporary issues.  However, their most recent episode “Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles” (aired 1/10/2016) left me uneasy.  Based looselyContinue reading "Milk Mustache Misconceptions"
  • Pizza Pollution - What if your dietary habits were negatively affecting the environment?  Would you change what you ate on a day to day basis for the sake of climate change?  To combat deforestation?  Reduce energy use as well as air and water pollution?  This is certainly the rationale for many of my friends who have chosen toContinue reading "Pizza Pollution"
  • Managing Microbes - New year, new resolutions.  If weight loss is on your list – scholars are encouraging humans to think more about the microscopic creatures living inside them.  This is particularly the case with an audiobook I have been running to for the past few days by Tim Spector, titled The Diet Myth (2015).  Published this pastContinue reading "Managing Microbes"
  • Pondering New Years Pork - “Sauerkraut un Schpeck dreibt alle Sarje weck.” Sauerkraut and pork drive all cares away. – Folk Saying, Sauerkraut Yankees, William Woys Weaver, p 147 (2002) Ringing in the New Year holds different meaning for people around the world.  It is also accompanied by different traditions and rituals.  In Pennsylvania German culture, New Years Day is celebratedContinue reading "Pondering New Years Pork"
  • Following Food - It is a somber feeling to start this blog the week of Sidney Mintz‘s passing – one of the leading scholars in food studies.  His book Sweetness and Power (1986) introduced me to the possibilities of writing comprehensive histories about food in ways that show how a commodity can be understood differently over time and acrossContinue reading "Following Food"

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