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A Geography of Digestion

Biotechnology and the Kellogg Cereal Enterprise

Nicholas Bauch (Author)


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A Geography of Digestion is a highly original exploration of the legacy of the Kellogg Company, one of America’s most enduring and storied food enterprises. In the late nineteenth century, company founder John H. Kellogg was experimenting with state-of-the-art advances in nutritional and medical science at his Battle Creek Sanitarium. Believing that good health depended on digesting the right foods in the right way, Kellogg thought that proper digestion could not happen without improved technologies, including innovations in food-processing machinery, urban sewer infrastructure, and agricultural production that changed the way Americans consumed and assimilated food. Asking his readers to think about mapping the processes and locations of digestion, Nicholas Bauch moves outward from the stomach to the sanitarium and through the landscape, clarifying the relationship between food, body, and environment at a crucial moment in the emergence of American health food sensibilities.
Nicholas Bauch is Assistant Professor of Geohumanities in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma.
“Nicholas Bauch navigates the reader from the microscale of bodily organs and bacteria to the macroscale of the nation. Written in engaging and lucid prose, A Geography of Digestion blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, between the inner geographies of the human body and their projection on the landscape. Thoroughly researched, captivating, and compellingly geographical, this is one of those rare academic books you will find hard to put down.”—Veronica della Dora, Royal Holloway, University of London
A Geography of Digestion tells a fascinating story that connects the Kelloggs; the rise of the Adventist tradition; the Battle Creek Sanitarium; new scientific ideas about nature, nutrition, health, and agriculture; germ theory; waste disposal infrastructure; and a variety of emerging technologies and economies. I know of no other work that draws such rich connections for this moment in time. Scholarly and lay readers alike will enjoy Bauch’s talent for writing the body, technology, and socio-nature.”—Dawn Day Biehler, author of Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats

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