News and Events

Richard Lowitt (1922-1918)
The Agricultural History Society is sad to report of the death of Richard Lowitt at the age of 96 in Concord, Massachusetts. Dr. Lowitt was elected a member of the executive committee from 1973-76 and served as president from 1991-92. The journal will publish a recognition of his life and service in the fall issue. His obituary may be found here.

Request for Paper for EURHO 2019
The nutrition transition and beyond:
dietary change in the world since 1945


Informal call for papers for a session proposal
Rural History 2019 (Paris, 10-13 September 2019,

We would like to propose a session on dietary change since 1945 for the upcoming Rural History 2019 conference. As a preparation, we are happy to issue now this informal call for papers.

We would like to shape the session around three topics:

(1) Major trends in food consumption in the world since 1945. All across the world, diets have been changing rapidly and profoundly in the period from 1945 to the present. In the global North, the postwar decades witnessed the rise of the “Western diet” rich in processed foodstuffs (meat, vegetable oils, sugar etc.) and the culmination of the “classical” period of the nutrition transition, while the last few decades have featured a turn towards differentiated products and qualitative substitutions (“food from nowhere” – “food from somewhere”). In the global South, some traits of a nutrition transition can be detected, but such transition seems to be unfolding in ways that do not necessarily mimic those of the global North at an earlier stage. One major area of interest for us is the measurement, description and identification of these major trends.

(2) Causes of diet change. Changes in food consumption seem to be partly related to economic factors, such as the evolution of consumer income and food prices. These in turn connect the analysis of diet change to broader issues of economic growth, inequality and food chain dynamics. Yet, few would dispute that these economic variables exert their impact within specific political, social and cultural contexts (patriotic campaigns, social movements, religious norms, etc.), the study of which is essential to our understanding of the causes of diet change. We particularly welcome analyses of the causes of diet change that aim at capturing this interplay of economic, political, social and cultural elements.

(3) Consequences of diet change. The most immediate impact of diet change has to do with consumer health. There is now widespread concern about the negative consequences of excessive, unhealthy food consumption styles in the global North, as well as an increasing awareness of the role of food security in human development in the global South. Yet, there are other, indirect consequences of diet change, such as those that impact on the environment or on social cohesion. Diet change since 1945 has probably contributed to intensifying the food system’s impact on the environment, but there are also signs of increasing consumer interest in organic, seasonal and regional foods. In the long run, the nutrition transition probably contributes to the making of a middle-class, mass consumer society, but the more recent turn towards differentiated foods and qualitative substitutions may well have started a new cycle of class-based differentiation.

We welcome paper proposals on these three areas, broadly defined. Interdisciplinary, cross-country analyses will be very well received, but we are also interested in papers that provide in-depth accounts of particular products and countries. Papers that are explicitly framed within theoretical perspectives from the social sciences are encouraged, but other papers will be considered as well.
If you want to join us for this session, please send us a title and a short abstract of about 200 words to our email addresses: and
The deadline for this is September 28. Please realize that, in case that our session proposal is accepted, preference will be given to those of you who join us at this early stage.

Shane Hamilton pens WaPo Op-Ed on Food and the Cold War
Read the full article here.

Former AHS President Jellison Quoted in Washington Post
Professor Katherine Jellison appeared in the Washington Post this week to weigh on an a most non-agricultural topic.

Webinar: Growing Things: Case Studies in Interpreting Agriculture
Farm to fork – Community Supported Agriculture – Locally sourced foods. Any AASLH member can find ways to connect their institution to these hot topics. Presenters in this webinar share their successes in linking site-specific and culturally distinct stories to the big topic of agriculture. They show that place matters, that nature and the environment provide a foundation to interpret farming, and that institutions from historic houses and historical societies to metro parks (rural, urban, and suburban) have the resources to engage their audiences in “agriculture.” Each attendee will have access to the same questions that presenters addressed as they prepared for the webinar. Webinar attendees can use these questions to launch their own agriculture interpretation.


Date: January 30, 2018

Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm EASTERN (Remember to calculate for your time zone!)

Cost: $40 AASLH members/$65 nonmembers

Closed captioning available upon advanced notice. Please contact for more information.

Webinar Outcomes:

Be introduced to strategies that can help make history museums and historic sites into a “go-to” source to learn more about hot topics related to agriculture and farming.
Learn about examples of interpreting agriculture that work.
Receive a framework of questions which they can use to launch their own place-based and mission-driven agriculture interpretation.
Begin to explore humanities-based strategies to convey a multi-disciplinary topic (agriculture and farming).
Better ensure that gender, race, ethnicity, power and authority remain central to all projects, and that rural-urban dichotomies and farming in the city and the country receive attention.

Who Should Attend:

This webinar is suitable for all staff and volunteers in institutions with interest in interpreting agriculture.

Southern Labor Studies Association Dissertation Prospectus Workshop
The SLSA will hold a Dissertation Prospectus Workshop on the first day of its upcoming conference in Athens, GA (May 17-19). Doctoral students working in any related discipline are invited to apply. Each accepted applicant will meet with a committee of scholars who will provide feedback at the May 17 workshop. The workshop is limited to ten students, each of whom will receive a $300 honorarium to help defray the cost of attending the conference plus a one-year membership in the SLSA.

Applicants must submit a 5-7-page (1250-1750 word) prospectus and a CV as a single Word file. The file name should be the applicant’s name. A sample bibliography of up to 5 pages) of primary and secondary sources may also be submitted as a separate Word document.

The conference will also feature an “Archives Spa” at which archivists will meet with researchers to advise them about relevant collections. Workshop participants who register for the conference are invited to participate in the Spa as well as the rest of the conference.

To apply, submit materials to David Anderson ( by: January 15, 2018.

Call for Papers: A Centennial of THE POLISH PEASANT IN EUROPE AND AMERICA- Symposium
The Institute of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
The Florian Znaniecki Scientific Foundation
The Haverford Institute of Public Sociology

Patronage over the Conference: Polish Sociological Association

Call for Papers

A Centennial of The Polish Peasant in Europe and America: Inspiration of Thomas and Znaniecki’s Work for Sociological Scholarship on the Contemporary Globalization Processes

May 24-25th 2018, Poznań, Poland

The centennial of the publication of The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, by Thomas and Znaniecki, presents a unique occasion to commemorate the monumental work like not many others. This special commemoration emanates from the breadth and complexity of the book and the extent of influence it exerted over sociology, philosophy, anthropology, social history, and social psychology. The book has inspired analyses of societies, closely connected with the social justice, informed social policies, remained debated and critiqued by opponents and those who considered themselves as ‘internal critics’. Twenty years after the publication of the first volume of the book, the Social Science Research Council surveyed historians and social scientists to inquire which works “had made the most significant contributions” to their respective disciplines. Sociologists selected The Polish Peasant. In its aftermath, H. Blumer produced an extensive, book-length analysis of the book, which became the first volume in a series of Critiques of Research in the Social Science.

So what is significant about this multi-faceted book? In E. Zaretsky’s assessment, “The Polish Peasant in Europe and America is the single most important work establishing sociology as a distinct discipline in America.” It replaced biological concepts of evolution with specifically sociological and cultural mechanism of change. The book made valuable contribution to the methodological development of the social sciences in the United States by beginning a shift from theoretical research into one grounded in empirical data. The Polish Peasant is considered the founding and most representative work of the Chicago School in sociology, which advanced a model of socially-embedded, reflexive and intentional man; emphasized the interplay between the subjective and objective factors, advanced analytical theory of human volition and of symbolic meaning as constitutive of actions, practices and institutions in society.

A specific social issue of the massive migration flows of Poles and other Eastern Europeans to America, which prompted a general concern over social unification of the
American society, motivated the work on The Polish Peasant in Europe and America. The authors aimed to discover what holds society together and to uncover the general ways in which social change occurs, including the possible forms and loci of social reorganization. Focusing on the immigration wave of Poles, the authors dealt with the system change - the early 20th century transformation to organized capitalism. In their voluminous and rich in empirical material work, they mapped supranational/global forces, transnational connections, depicted the process of immigrants remaking their world through rational and purposeful actions, and elaborated for us the disorganization and reintegration theory.

The co-authorship of The Polish Peasant by the American and Polish sociologists, Thomas, and Znaniecki, signifies international root of the knowledge production in American Sociology. Their work also vividly points out that its subject matter, the American society, at the dawn of the 20th century, had the global boundaries. It also shows that the Americanization process, on the level of changing attitudes and values, entails persistence of ethnicity and complex and changing ethnic identities of its members.

The organizers of this conference believe that to commemorate the centennial of the towering The Polish Peasant, as a representative of Chicago School, is not just to celebrate the legacy of it. Instead, the celebration of the book best establishes its lasting contribution to global social sciences if we demonstrate the persistent relevance of its multi-leveled theoretical-conceptual framework and its distinct methodological method by applying them to study the contemporary social issues. Furthermore, we celebrate the work by not considering it as a closed repository of knowledge, but instead as an inspiration for the ongoing theoretical reconstructions and extrapolations in context of the new social problems challenging us in 21 century.

Present day brings a renewed concern over the social issues that Thomas and Znaniecki focused on in their work. Precipitated by the Solidarity movement in Poland, the 21century system change--the transformations of state socialism to capitalism in the Eastern Europe-- generated the post 1989 globally felt massive political, economic and cultural consequences. The system change affected present day Europeisation process, on the level of European nation-states, organizations, and individuals. It also unleashed unprecedented migration waves and revived social concerns over societal integration that accompanied massive waves of immigrations, meaning and boundaries of nationhood, ethnicity and ethnic identity.

The conference organizers invite the submission of abstracts related, though not limited, to the themes below:

* The Polish Peasant and Beyond; the Chicago School--extensions of, and departures from the Thomas and Znaniecki’s classic in the development of sociological theory;

*The methodological approach of The Polish Peasant and the ethnographic approach to study the contemporary globalizing processes, with the particular focus on the regional globalization--Europeization process;

*Sociological Practice and Public Sociology; the authors of The Polish Peasant as precursors of transcending the dichotomy of scientific and public knowledge?

*Social Justice issues and Policy Implications stemming from The Polish Peasant and their relevance for the current social interventions and immigration policy formations;

*The attitudes and values as the key concepts in The Polish Peasant & the post 1989 Big Change in the Eastern Europe and beyond, in the collective imagination and behavior, on the national, organizational and individual levels;

* The Polish Peasant theory of disintegration and reintegration & contestations over the European integration, challenges to democratic consolidation projects, and the formation of new collective identities, and inter- and intra-ethnic relations;

*The early 20th century global capitalism in The Polish Peasant & the late capitalism unbound: uneven development, segmentation of labor markets, spatial mobility, and migratory movements;

*The Polish Peasant’s thesis on the shift from affective to purposive and rational form of action & the contemporary scholarship on ethnicity, ethno-national identity formation in the age of economic individualization;

* The disintegration theory in The Polish Peasant & the contemporary scholarship on the social costs of regional globalization in Europe—brutalization of daily lives, crime, primary groups brake-down

The conference will take place in Poznań, Poland, at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (AMU). The country is inseparably tied to the genesis of The Polish Peasant and to the contemporary massive migratory movements associated with the post-1989 Europeization processes. Poznań, a major city in the Western Poland, is particularly suited as a site of the centennial commemoration of The Polish Peasant. It was in Poznań, where Florian Znaniecki wrote his major scholarly works upon the return from the US, after collaborating with Thomas on The Polish Peasant. It was also in Poznań, where Znaniecki institutionalized sociology as an academic discipline in Poland by establishing the first sociology department (referred to as the Institute of Sociology) at the Poznań University.

Respondents are expected to upload a file with a 300-word abstract of the proposed paper and the CV by February 28th, 2018. Submissions without the attached CV will not be
considered. Presenters will be notified by March 30th and should register to attend the conference by April 10th, 2018.

Abstracts must be submitted in English via the official conference e-mail:

The conference fee is EUR 90 for all presenters and attendees, payable at the registration time (comprising conference materials, meals, cocktail party and banquet, prospective publication). Reduction of fee is possible in individual cases.

See conference webpage: polish-peasant-symposium-2018

Contact (Organizing Committee members):
Jerzy Kaczmarek, Sc.D. (President) Piotr Luczys, M.A.
Marek Nowak, Sc.D.
Andrzej Przestalski, Sc.D.
Suava Salameh, Sc.D.

Call for Papers: China, East Asia, and the U.S.: Rural Transformations
The Fourth Annual Conference of the Purdue Nanjing Joint Center for China Studies invites paper and session proposals for the conference theme "China, East Asia, and the U.S.: Rural Transformations." In addition, we invite papers and session proposals on any aspect of Chinese and East Asian politics, science, medicine, technology, education, economics, and cultural and social affairs. Papers linking China and East Asia with the United States will be particularly welcome. The conference will be held at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

Conference Dates: October 23-25, 2018

Send paper and session proposal to Doug Hurt, Head, Department of History Purdue University, by May 1, 2018.

AHS 2018 Graduate Workshop
The Agricultural History Society invites applications for its third annual one-day graduate student workshop to be held Wednesday, May 23, 2018 in St. Petersburg, FL. The workshop will run immediately in advance of the AHS Annual Meeting (May 24-26, 2018), also in St. Petersburg.

Graduate students working and writing in all fields of agricultural history or closely related fields are welcome to apply. Selected papers will represent a wide range of topics, regions and time periods. Scholars who examine agricultural labor, economics and geography, including the movement of commodities, the shifting nature of rural work, the history of food security and insecurity, and the impact climate change has had on the food supply and patterns of agricultural exploitation are especially welcome, as are those who employ global, comparative, or transnational approaches. Graduate students working in history or closely affiliated disciplines in the humanities and social sciences are all invited to apply.

All accepted papers will be pre-circulated, assigned a respondent who is a senior scholar active in the discipline, and given in-depth constructive feedback during individual sessions during the workshop. Participants appearing on the conference program of the AHS Annual Meeting will be eligible for a $500 stipend to help defer the cost of travel and accommodations. At least one panel at the Agricultural History Society Meeting will be set aside to showcase the research of workshop participants, so conference participation, while not guaranteed, is likely. In addition, a cash prize of $250 will be awarded to the best paper submitted to the 2018 workshop.

To apply, please submit a brief abstract and a one-page CV to Dr. Jenny Leigh Smith, at, by December 31, 2017. Questions may be directed to the same email address. Applicants will be notified of final decisions by mid-January.

Information about the Annual Meeting and the Agricultural History Society can be found at

Call for Papers: Southern Forum on Agricultural, Rural, and Environmental History 2018
The Southern Forum on Agricultural, Rural, and Environmental History (SFARE) is now accepting proposals for its annual conference, to be held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, April 27-28, 2018.
Now in its eleventh year, SFARE provides a collegial setting for established scholars and advanced graduate students to present material that pushes the boundaries of agricultural, rural, and environmental history.  In keeping with SFARE’s tradition of fostering a welcoming and constructive atmosphere, participants should plan to attend ALL panels (there are no concurrent sessions) in order to provide quality feedback for each presenter. This year’s event is supported by the Department of History at the University of Tennessee, with additional support from the Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment of the South (CHASES) at Mississippi State University and the Agricultural History Society.
Drew Swanson will deliver this year’s keynote address. Dr. Swanson is an associate professor of history at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He is the author of A Golden Weed: Tobacco and Environment in the Piedmont South, published by Yale University Press in 2014 and winner of the Theodore Saloutos Prize from the Agricultural History Society, and Remaking Wormsloe Plantation: The Environmental History of a Lowcountry Landscape, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2012. He is currently completing a book on the environmental history of Appalachia.
Work on all geographic locations and time periods is welcome. Faculty and students are invited to submit panel, roundtable, or single-paper proposals on any topic dealing with rural, agricultural, or environmental history. Please submit a 250-word paper proposal or a 500-word panel proposal, along with a one-page CV for each person involved, to Dr. Tore Olsson at
The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2018. Responses will be sent by February 1.

Cornell University College of Human Ecology History of Home Economics Fellowship
The College of Human Ecology at Cornell University is accepting applications for the 2017 Dean's Fellowship in the History of Home Economics. To learn more about the history of the fellowship visit:

We invite faculty members, research scholars, and advanced graduate students (must be eligible to work in the United States) with demonstrated background and experience in historical studies to apply for this post-graduate opportunity. The fellowship recipient will receive an award of $6,500 for a summer or sabbatical residency of approximately six weeks to use the unique resources available from the College and the Cornell University Library system in pursuit of scholarly research in the history of Home Economics and its impact on American society. 

At the conclusion of the residency the fellowship recipient will provide a final report to the dean, including a bibliography of research pursued, and preservation recommendations for pertinent library and archival holdings. In addition, the recipient will be invited to give a public presentation on their research at a later date. Research projects should be intended for publication.

Relevant historical subject areas may include, but are not limited to: the role of women in the family and society, the history of women in higher education, the history of food, nutrition, housing, consumer economics, the family, child development, design, clothing and textiles among other key topics in American social history. We welcome applications in which the historical subject area may inform the investigation of contemporary societal issues.

The deadline for receipt of all application materials is Friday, March 2, 2018.  For additional information, see: Please circulate this announcement to your professional networks.

Call-for-Proposals: New Book on Midwestern Politics
Scholars, commentators, and political analysts are asked to submit proposals of 500 words or less outlining a proposed chapter for a volume on the history of Midwestern politics since 1945. Given the recent election outcome, in which major Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio switched their support from previous election cycles, the editors believe this is an important moment for a deeper exploration of the dynamics of Midwestern politics and the political culture of the region. The editors also believe this is the key moment to bring together two emerging and critical trends in American historiography, namely the burgeoning of scholarly work on the growth of political conservatism in the United States in the late 20th century and the recent upsurge of interest in the history of the Midwest. Topics for the volume could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: cross-regional dynamics such as the farm economy, industrial labor organization and strife, key political sub-regions (such as Dutch Michigan, Western Iowa, Appalachian Ohio, the Driftless, the Upper Peninsula, Little Egypt, Appalachian Ohio, the Iron Range, the Cutover of Wisconsin, etc), various Cold War dynamics, the politics of deindustrialization, the tendency or failure of once strongly-Republican Midwestern states to “re-align” or become Democratic in the decades after the New Deal, the decline of major urban centers such as Detroit, urban versus out-state conflicts (Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis, for examples, versus the more rural parts of Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota), varying and evolving forms of conservative or economic populism, the relationship between the industrial economy and the farm economy, the working class culture of cities such as Youngstown, the history of the Midwest as a political swing region, the presence and political impact of African-Americans in Midwestern states, the impact of conservative activism in Midwestern states, profiles of prominent Midwestern politicians which reveal important components of Midwestern political culture, the political culture of the Midwest as expressed in literature, music, etc, the rise of the Christian right, the activities of the Left in the Midwest (Madison, Ann Arbor, etc), white flight from urban areas and the subsequent impact on regional politics, immigration from Asia, Latin America, and Africa and its impact on politics, the evolution of religion/decline of mainline churches/rise of more conservative churches, changing forms of media and the lessening of rural isolation, the impacts of wars such as Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq/Afghanistan on politics, responses in the Midwest to social changes of the 1960s/70s, the impact of Reaganism in the Midwest, various aspects of the culture wars in the Midwest, the influence of the military or military spending on local and state politics, etc. Jon Lauck of the University of South Dakota and Catherine McNicol Stock of Connecticut College at will serve as volume editors. All proposals should be sent to Jon Lauck at and to Catherine McNicol Stock at by September 1, 2017 and include a vita pasted at the end of the proposal (please include the proposal and vita in one document). If a proposal is accepted, the final version of an author’s chapter will be due on August 1, 2018. The University Press of Kansas has expressed preliminary interest in the volume. Publication is expected, but not guaranteed, during the summer of election year 2020.

September 1, 2017

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Contact Us

The Society Office
James C. Giesen, Executive Secretary
Alan I Marcus, Treasurer
MSU History Department
PO Box H
Mississippi State, MS 39762

The Editorial Office
Albert Way, Editor
Kennesaw State University
Dept. of History and Philosophy
402 Bartow Ave
Kennesaw, Georgia 30144