Nicole Welk-Joerger is a doctoral candidate in the University of Pennsylvania's History and Sociology of Science department. She investigates historical and ethnographic moments when issues of human and animal health meet. Nicole is currently writing a dissertation that uses the history of animal nutrition science and the animal feed industry to understand current political debates about human, animal, and environmental health. Her dissertation will trace these intricacies found in American food systems, and how these systems rely on and transform non-human bodies and landscapes. Nicole is also a Smithsonian Institute and Lemelson Center Fellow, using her summer and winter breaks to work with materials in the National Museum of American History.
Wolf Humanities Center Graduate Fellow
2018—2019 Forum on Stuff
Ph.D. Candidate, History and Sociology of Science
Feeding Others to Feed Ourselves: Animal Nutrition and the Politics of Health from 1900
Beginning in America’s Progressive Era, scientific and regulatory efforts to use animal feed stuffs to control the production of human food emerged with the development of new technologies and professional organizations. Across the 20th century, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), American Society of Animal Nutrition (ASAN), and American Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) worked together to persuade feed mills and farmers to change their practices for the sake of food safety, economic efficiency, and the health of both humans and animals. Tracing this development of America’s animal feed industry and the shifting conceptualizations of feed stuffs through the 20th century, this project explores how the relationships humans build with their domesticated animals can not only affect federal policy and economic markets, but also bodies and landscapes.