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.
Follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter.
US Army band in an archive recording of period song “Army Bean”:
‘Tis the bean that we mean!
[fades and continues in background]
Ian [as narrator]:
In the last half of the 19th century, organised vegetarianism throws itself into questions of global politics – slavery, colonialism, and votes for women.
This episode, we’ll discover the abolitionist vegetarian settlement in the Wild West, how the British Empire accidentally more Hindus to go vegetarian, and I’m getting on my bike to discover just how [bicycle bell tinkles] surprisingly big vegetarianism was in London – in the 1880s.
VegHist Ep 13: The Vegetarians. Abolitionism, colonialism, and Victorian reformers; with Julia Twigg and Bhaskar Chakraborty. In London
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.