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Elma Brenner

Food and drink were key markers of status in medieval Europe, with different dietary options available to urban and rural dwellers, as well as to members of aristocratic households, religious communities, armies and other groupings. 1 Diet also affected health. As is the case today, malnutrition made people vulnerable to epidemic and chronic illnesses, and contaminated food and drink were associated with sickness. 2 At the same time, physicians held that dietary regulation was a key means of remaining healthy, and advised the consumption of specific foodstuffs

in Leprosy and identity in the Middle Ages
Open Access (free)
Jeffrey Flynn

helped fuel the efforts of more ‘non-political’ organisations like Oxfam, which ‘sought to recast “Biafra” as a space of victimhood, standing in isolation from the political agency of a secessionist movement’ (133). The costs of such depoliticising are by now well-known. For example, as Heerten aptly asks, ‘who, in the end, thinks a people symbolized by starving infants to be capable of creating a state?’ (139). This is the damage done when people are fed a steady diet of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

, anthropometry identifies abnormal body sizes and suboptimal diets – a process that relies on problematic notions of a ‘normal’ (Western) body. Scott-Smith (2013) incisively argues that the MUAC tape remains a top-down mechanism: ‘It has most value for the distributor, not the recipient of aid: allowing the nutritionist to sort the population efficiently into those who will and will not receive assistance, offering a regularized mechanism for triage, and transferring difficult ethical decisions

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Two contemporary accounts of Martin Luther

This book presents a contemporary, eyewitness account of the life of Martin Luther translated into English. Johannes Cochlaeus (1479–1552) was present in the great hall at the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521 when Luther made his famous declaration before Emperor Charles V: ‘Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen’. Afterward, Cochlaeus sought Luther out, met him at his inn, and privately debated with him. Luther wrote of Cochlaeus, ‘may God long preserve this most pious man, born to guard and teach the Gospel of His church, together with His word, Amen’. However, the confrontation left Cochlaeus convinced that Luther was an impious and malevolent man. Over the next twnety-five years, Cochlaeus barely escaped the Peasant's War with his life. He debated with Melanchthon and the reformers of Augsburg. It was Cochlaeus who conducted the authorities to the clandestine printing press in Cologne, where William Tyndale was preparing the first English translation of the New Testament (1525). For an eyewitness account of the Reformation—and the beginnings of the Catholic Counter-Reformation—no other historical document matches the first-hand experience of Cochlaeus. After Luther's death, it was rumoured that demons seized the reformer on his death-bed and dragged him off to Hell. In response to these rumours, Luther's friend and colleague Philip Melanchthon wrote and published a brief encomium of the reformer in 1548. Cochlaeus consequently completed and published his monumental life of Luther in 1549.

Historical problems and perspectives

The nature of the relationship between publics and their health has long been a concern for those seeking to improve collective and individual health. Attempts to secure the health of the population of any given place are one of the oldest forms of governmental action. Whether it be providing clean water or preventing the spread of disease, such efforts require the involvement of the publics these measures are designed to protect. Despite its importance, surprisingly little attention has been paid to who or what the ‘public’ of public health consisted of. This collection addresses this gap by considering ‘who’ the public of public health was in an array of places and around a variety of public health problems. Ranging across Europe and North and South America, and from the interwar period to the near present, this book explores the construction of ‘problem publics’ to deepen our understanding of the ‘who’ of public health. This book offers detailed case studies of the making of ‘problem’ publics and public health problems in different places and at different times. By placing examples of the construction of problem publics in contexts as diverse as the USA in the interwar period, East Germany in the 1980s and contemporary Argentina, this collection identifies what is general and what is specific to the processes that make certain kinds of publics appear problematic. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this volume offers fresh insights into the nature of public health problems, practices and publics.

Dietary advice and agency in North America and Britain
Nicos Kefalas

self under medical direction, as well as concerns about the detrimental effects of modern living on diet and health. More particularly, a key feature of the self-help genre, in relation to diet at least, was a commitment to providing readers with the knowledge and agency necessary to achieve ideal selfhood, health and well-being themselves through what the authors thought to be balanced diets or lifestyles. Drawing on self-help books that were in the Publishers’ Digest top ten, The New York Times’ bestsellers and books with multiple reprints

in Balancing the self
Duncan Sayer

orientation for the graves that defined the aesthetics of that space and allowed it to be identified. These people from the first configuration buried their dead with weapons or brooches, and they were buried alongside infants and children. The lives of the people in the second configuration on average were shorter: they did not bury their dead in one space, but instead chose to do so in a chronological sequence, one after the other in a clockwise pattern around the cemetery. They used the mortuary space differently; they may also have had different diets, different

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
Full text access
Food choice, disease prevention and the role of the food industry in health promotion in England, 1980–92
Jane Hand

alongside, and in addition to, the NHS marked an important recognition by government of the place commercial enterprise was playing in both shaping and delivering so-called ‘healthy options’ to the public. Within this government–industry collaboration, diet and nutrition were important areas of focus. 2 Throughout the twentieth century, food became increasingly identified by medical scientists as a

in Publics and their health
Abstract only
Karen Throsby

the more detailed elaboration of the process of giving up sugar and the work that it entails. A burgeoning genre of self-help texts steps into this breach, offering to guide readers expertly through the why and the how of relinquishing sugar. As in the extract above from David Gillespie’s The Sweet Poison Quit Plan , they promise an alluring prize for those prepared to ‘hold the line’: not simply a health-giving sugar-free diet, but also the spectacular and transformative end of the desire for sugar (‘Bang!’). The

in Sugar rush
Ian Miller

-century feeding in institutions and maintains that critics of institutional dietary policies invoked this seemingly internal institutional matter as a concern with national implications. Following the Famine, expert ideas on the relationship between diet, nutrition and illness became increasingly nuanced. Physicians paid closer attention to the issues of nutritional quality and deficiency and sought to firmly establish the potential long-term physical and mental consequences of consuming an insufficient diet. In doing so, they significantly advanced the Liebig

in Reforming food in post-Famine Ireland