Dean's Fellowship in the History of Home Economics

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This is a collection of video and audio presentations given by recipients of the Dean's Fellowship in the History of Home Economics.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
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    As Good as Butter: Home Economics and the New Fats, 1890-1990
    Robins, Jonathan E. (2017-03-16)
    New edible fats with names like "Hogless Lard" and "Cottolene" entered the American diet in the late 19th century, and Americans sought help from the first generation of home economists to understand these novel foodstuffs. For the next century, experts in home economics and allied disciplines grappled with questions about the taste, affordability, and healthiness of fats. Cornell's home economists deftly navigated early controversies, and used public outreach campaigns through the World Wars and Depression to explain practical uses of the new fats and the science behind them. The post-war debates over fat, cholesterol, and heart disease demonstrated the continuing importance of home economists as communicators, as faculty and extension workers translated technical--and often contradictory--research findings for public audiences. These debates also highlighted the ways in which researchers in other disciplines had appropriated nutrition as their own domain, however, divorcing food from its social context.
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    Another Modernism: Home Economics and the Conception of Domestic Space in the United States, 1900-1960
    Myjak-Pycia, Anna (2016-03-16)
    Focusing on the homemaker as the primary user of domestic interior, the Home Economics movement formulated a spatial model that differed from the dominant spatial ideal of architectural modernism in the first half of the twentieth century. Whereas the home economists' model was intended to protect the user from overexertion, assuming the engagement of the user's whole body, the dominant modernist model's intention was mainly to reward the spirit via the aesthetic experience transmitted by optic data.
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    Ergonomics in the Postwar Home: Collaborations between Cornell's College of Home Economics and the Center for Housing and Enivronmental Studies
    Penner, Barbara (2015-04-16)
    In architecture and design, the postwar period in America saw the rise of a new phenomenon: ergonomics research. The primary aim of ergonomics was to improve human environments by studying a wide range of factors that influenced use. These broad-ranging and ambitious studies, which covered everything from anatomical to psychological factors, could only be realized by bringing together large multidisciplinary research teams, including engineers, architects, planners, medics, engineers, home economists, and psychologists. This was a radical moment in the design sciences and nowhere was this multidisciplinary and user-centered mode of working embraced with more enthusiasm than Cornell University. Two projects exemplify the ergonomic turn: The Cornell Kitchen (1947-1953) and The Bathroom (1958-1965), both directed by Glenn H. Beyer from the Center for Housing and Environmental Studies, and supported by the expertise of Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the College of Home Economics. A lecture by Barbara Penner, the 2014 Dean's Fellowship recipient in the History of Home Economics and Human Nutrition in the College of Human Ecology focuses on the applied techniques that were deployed to investigate space, human use and behavior in The Bathroom and The Cornell Kitchen, and the broader ergonomic turn in postwar design culture – a culture which in its attentiveness to non-standard users (women, children, and the elderly) remains relevant today.
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    To Encircle the World
    Horrocks, Allison (2014-03-20)
    Allison Horrocks, 2013 Dean's Fellowship recipient in the History of Home Economics in the College of Human Ecology, traces Kittrell’s rise to prominence as an educator and nutrition expert, connecting her story to a diverse range of activists and academics working within the field. By looking closely at her work "at home" and abroad, she suggests new ways of thinking about the possibilities for women within the field of home economics.For her distinction of being the first woman of color to earn a Ph.D. in Home Economics, Cornell University alumna Flemmie P. Kittrell is often regarded as an exceptional figure in histories of the discipline and in higher education for minorities. After completing her Cornell degree, Dr. Kittrell went on to become the dean of women and head of the department of home economics at Hampton Institute and then head of the home economics department at the prestigious Howard University in Washington, D. C. Through her work Dr. Kittrell also gained wide prominence as an international nutrition expert.
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    Fixing Family Problems Around the World: Home Economics at the Cornell School for Missionaries
    Schatz, Anna (2013-10-02)
    Anna Schatz, 2012 Dean's Fellowship recipient in the History of Home Economics, examines the history of the School for Missionaries at Cornell University. From 1930 through the 1950s, this program sought to unite the insights and methods of academia with the Protestant missionary movement. Focusing on the participation of female missionaries and home economists, Ms. Schatz’s talk explores the history of this unique and experimental program run by the Colleges of Agriculture and Home Economics and its significance as a point of intersection for the history of American women and the U.S. in the world.
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    Cultivating the Country's Best Crop: Developing Youth Through 4-H in the 20th Century
    Williams, Amrys (2011-11-14)
    This presentation provides a look at the history of 4-H clubs and their relationship to the developing ideas about rural culture, community and modernity in 20th century United States. 4-H clubs—the youth phase of agricultural and home economics extension work—were central to the USDA’s program for rural modernization in the early decades of the 20th century. Cultivating “the country’s best crop,” as these young people were often described, was a matter of culture as well as agriculture, and 4-H club work sought to revitalize rural society alongside rural livelihoods. The biological metaphor of development—of crops, children, communities, and civilization—was central to these efforts, and 4-H’s work with rural youth in rural places illuminates a strand of thinking about development that relied on growth, guidance, and nurture to cultivate modernity on rural terms.
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    Watchful Weighing: The Body Politics of Home Economics 1920-1950
    Moran, Rachel (2011-03-03)
    Not long after the turn of the century, home economists, physicians, and public health workers made the height-weight chart into a household term. Historian Rachel Moran examines the spread of tables in schools, agricultural extension programs, and home economics curriculum. By the early 1920s, experts were debating the balance between the benefits and dangers of height-weight charts, and questioning the charts that many of them had helped popularize. Moran argues that the charts ultimately survived intense expert criticism only because lay-women had become such firm advocates of their use. The talk considers the relationship between female lay-citizens and experts, as well as the political power of statistics in early 20th century U.S. government. It also raises questions about the use and critique of contemporary physical measurements, especially Body Mass Index.
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    A Growing College, redux: When Home Economics Became Human Ecology - Video
    Kay, Gwen (2009-03-04)
    In 1969, after 5 years of deliberation and planning, Cornell's College of Home Economics became the College of Human Ecology. Gwen Kay, Associate Professor of History at SUNY Oswego and 2008 recipient of the Cornell CHE Fellowship in the History of Home Economics, examines how and why the new name came into being, and what the hopes were for the new college.