Archive by Author | Ian McD

VegHist Ep 15: Liberation. Veganism, hippies, and the animal rights movement. With Sam Calvert and Maneka Gandhi; at London, Cambridge, and Bangalore

Crowd holding vegan banners

How has western vegetarianism risen, within living memory, from fringe to mainstream choice? And how has veganism gone from nowhere to everywhere?

Episode 15: Liberation

This final episode recounts the growth of veganism, vegetarianism, and the modern animal advocacy movement.

Ian treads in the footsteps of the handful of pioneers who set up the vegan movement in the 1940s, and meets a life vegan born in 1951.

He investigates the sixties counterculture that combined the philosophy of ethics, activism, and new ways of living and working, visiting one of Britain’s first vegetarian wholefood co-operatives.

And as vegetarian and vegan movements increasingly link up around the world, he looks at developments in China and India. In New Delhi, he meets the vegan politician who is also the most prominent animal advocate in the world’s largest democracy.

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VegHist Ep 14: Diet Reform. On consumerism, lebensreform, and Gandhi; with Ramachandra Guha; at Sabarmati Ashram, India

In the nineteenth century, in America and Germany, new forms of vegetarianism emerge – from the individualistic consumer vegetarianism of America, to the back-to-nature European “life reform” movement.

Episode 14: Diet Reform

As animal agriculture industrialises and meat consumption rises, the ways that food reformers respond are familiar to people today – the plant-based meat, the celebrity athletes, and the reformers who worship nature, sunshine, and fresh air.

Ian goes to the shops to discover just how many vegetarian staples he owes to pioneers like John Harvey Kellogg. In Sabarmati, northwest India, he visits the Ashram of Mahatma Mohandas K Gandhi.

Play or download (62MB MP3 44min) (via iTunes) Read More…

Vidchat with Dr Adam Shprintzen on US #VegHist

Short YouTube Live VidChat with Dr Adam Shprintzen, author of “The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement”, and American history expert in “Vegetarianism: The Story So Far” episodes 12 through 14.

UK now has 4 vegan MPs

Westminster

This is a guide to the UK General election results of particular interest to vegans and animal advocates, conveniently in results order. [Updated with results June 9th]. Read More…

Harish Bhimani (on Wikipedia)

Indian listeners might recognise the voice behind Mohandas in episode 13 onwards. Harish Bhimani narrated the 1988-90 Indian TV adaption of “Mahabharata”, amongst many other roles. He’s one of India’s best-known voice over actors, and I’m very happy that he’s lending his talents to the story of vegetarianism.

VegHist Ep 13: The Vegetarians. Abolitionism, colonialism, and Victorian reformers; with Julia Twigg and Bhaskar Chakraborty. In London

An old photograph of over a dozen vegetarian magazines

In the late nineteenth century, the new vegetarian movement is intertwined with other struggles – including Victorian reformers, the Indian reaction to British colonialism, and most importantly, slavery.

Episode 13: The Vegetarians

After their foundation in 1847 and 1850, the vegetarian societies in Britain and America rose swiftly faced new challenges.

Dr Adam Shprintzen, author of the history of US vegetarianism “Vegetarian Crusade, tells Ian how the American Vegetarian Society poured its energies into an anti-slavery vegetarian settlement in the Wild West. And how its founder, Englishman Henry Clubb, ultimately took a bullet for the union in the Civil War.

Under British rule, Hindu vegetarianism faced a mix of threat and opportunity. In India, Ian meets historians DN Jha, Burton Cleetus, and Bhaskar Chakraborty, who explain how, faced with rule by distant Christians, vegetarianism became more important as a marker of caste and identity.

Ian also sets off on a cycle tour of vegetarian Victorian London, and talks to the first modern academic to study vegetarian history – Dr Julia Twigg.

Play or download (58MB MP3 41min) (via iTunes)

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Buy Vegetarian History Books

When people  suggest I write a book about the history of vegetarianism, I say that there already are quite a few good books. These are the books on vegetarian history I found most helpful whilst making the series, with Amazon links (that give me a little commission).

VegHist Ep 12: Radicals & Romantics. Bible Christians, Grahamites, and Transcendentalists; with Adam Shprintzen and Derek Antrobus; at Deerfields, Fruitlands, and Salford

Sheaf of wheat with fruit

In the 1800s, overlapping circles of utopians, mystics, and romantics in both Europe and America develop arguments against meat until “vegetarianism” finally becomes a real movement. 

 

Episode 12: Radicals & Romantics

In the aftermath of the American and French revolutions, the sects and philosophies that embrace a “vegetable diet” multiply – from ecstatic cult to puritan crusades, to utopian community to public-spirited congregation. No longer are they isolated groups – they connect with each other in books, magazines, and letters. Until a single word catches on – “vegetarianism”.

In the United States of America, Ian discovers the the vegetarian sword and shoes of a 1790s “free love” vegetarian sect in a local Massachusetts museum, and visits the failed vegan commune where Louisa May “Little Women” Alcott lived as a child.

And in Salford, NW England, he walks in the footsteps of a nineteenth century vegetarian church, with local historian Derek Antrobus and the vegetarian history specialist Dr Samantha Calvert.

It’s a story that also takes in the French bohemian “cult of the bearded men”, the man who invented the modern idea of Robin Hood, the woman who invented Frankenstein and his creature, Sylvester Graham, and, finally, the creation of modern vegetarianism.

Play or download (65MB MP3 47min) (via iTunes)
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Voicebox problem

“Vegetarianism: The Story So Far” Update #28 on Kickstarter.com

Podcast releases are waiting for Ian’s voice to return to normal. Sorry!

Irish radio covers VegHist

Hear Luke Clancy interviewing Ian about “Vegetarianism: The Story So Far” on Lyric FM (the Irish national broadcaster’s cultural station). They talk about the course of vegetarian history, Ian’s motivations for the series, and visit the corner of central London where organised veganism began.