Vegetarianism: The Story So Far
People have been arguing for vegetarianism for a very long time. The history of animal advocacy stretches back to iron age Greece and India, where voices emerge from prehistory challenging the idea that other animals exist solely for humans.
This 15-part series tells the whole story, from antiquity to the present, spanning the world. There are dozens of experts, visits, and dramatic readings. I’ve examined a royal inscription from an Indian king with one of the few people who can read it; and seen vegan shoes made in post-revolutionary America.
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- VegHist Ep 1: Ahimsa. Mahavir, the Jains, and other śramaṇas; with DN Jha, James Serpell, Richard Gombrich, & GC Tripathi; at Veerayatan, Rajgir, India
- VegHist Ep 2: The Middle Path. On Siddharta Gautama, and Buddhism; with Rev Varasambodhi Thera, Peter Flugel, and Richard Gombrich; at Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, India
- VegHist Ep 3: Pythagoreans. On the Cults of Orpheus and Pythagoras in Ancient Greece; with Hugh Bowden, Michael Beer, John Wilkins, and Armand D’Angour
- VegHist Ep 4: Ashoka. On India’s animal advocate Buddhist king and the spread of the śramanas; with Bharati Pal and Suchandra Ghosh; at the Kalinga rock edict, India
- VegHist Ep 5: Flesh and Spirit. On Egyptian monasticism, Early Christianity, Plutarch, Neoplatonism, and Manicheansim; with David Grummet, Nicholas Baker-Brian, Michael Beer, and Fr. Abouna Yostas St. Athanasius
- VegHist Ep 6: Hinduism. On Indian Vegetarianism, Vaishnavism, Satvik, and Mahayana Buddhism; with Sanjukta Gupta, Deepak Anand, and Ranjan Garavu; at Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Bhubaneswar and Nalanda Mahavihara
- VegHist Ep 7: Heresies. On Chinese Buddhists, Cathars, Bogomils, Islam, and Manichaeans; with Vincent Gooseart, John Arnold, Jason BeDuhn, and Ven. Chueh Yun; at the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, in London
- VegHist Ep 8: Contacts. Indian Sufism, Bhakti, Akbar, Portuguese Christianity, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism; with Sanjukta Gupta; in Agra, Delhi, and London
- VegHist Ep 9: Renaissance. Descartes, Montaigne, Gassendi, and the “sparing diet”; with Jean-Charles Darmon, Deepak Kumar, and Justin Begley; in Paris, France
- VegHist Ep 10: Revolution. English civil war, diet gurus, and the poetry of Sensibility; with Tristram Stuart and Anita Guerrini; at the Ahmedabad Panjrapole
- VegHist Ep 11: Enlightenment. Colonial India, Voltaire, Rousseau, and the French Revolution; with Partha Chatterjee, Christophe Martin, and Renan Larue; at the Black Hole of Calcutta, and Musée Rousseau Montmerency
- VegHist Ep 12: Radicals & Romantics. Bible Christians, Grahamites, and Transcendentalists; with Adam Shprintzen and Derek Antrobus; at Deerfields, Fruitlands, and Salford
- VegHist Ep 13: The Vegetarians. Abolitionism, colonialism, and Victorian reformers; with Julia Twigg and Bhaskar Chakraborty. In London
- VegHist Ep 14: Diet Reform. On consumerism, lebensreform, and Gandhi; with Ramachandra Guha; at Sabarmati Ashram, India
- VegHist Ep 15: Liberation. Veganism, hippies, and the animal rights movement. With Sam Calvert and Maneka Gandhi; at London, Cambridge, and Bangalore
Recent #VegHist updates:
- VegHist Ep 15: Liberation. Veganism, hippies, and the animal rights movement. With Sam Calvert and Maneka Gandhi; at London, Cambridge, and Bangalore Sep 13, 2017
- VegHist Ep 14: Diet Reform. On consumerism, lebensreform, and Gandhi; with Ramachandra Guha; at Sabarmati Ashram, India Jun 29, 2017
- Vidchat with Dr Adam Shprintzen on US #VegHist Jun 26, 2017
- Harish Bhimani (on Wikipedia) May 22, 2017
- VegHist Ep 13: The Vegetarians. Abolitionism, colonialism, and Victorian reformers; with Julia Twigg and Bhaskar Chakraborty. In London May 16, 2017
Read more about the story so far at:
- These books about vegetarian history, which I found really interesting and informative whilst putting together the series.
- The International Vegetarian Union, which archives many historic documents and some PhD theses thanks to tireless work by John Davis.
- John Edmundson archives modern vegetarian history at the Ernest Bell Library and Henry Salt Archive. He blogs at Happy Cow and shares finds on FB.
- Wikipedia: History of Vegetarianism
The expenses for this project were raised by generous people around the world via a Kickstarter campaign. Backers are gratefully listed alongside the production team on the credits page. The series was also broadcast on London’s radio art station Resonance FM. The timeline uses pictures CC-BY-SA Ankur P CC-BY JuJu939 CC-BY-SA Doris Antony and CC-BY-SA Andrew Davidson.