Corinna Treitel is a historian interested in the interface of German culture, medicine, and science since the eighteenth century. Her first book, A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), explored the many ways in which occult practices from the 1870s to 1945 eased the Germans’ accommodation to the paradoxes of living in a scientific and “disenchanted” age.
During her fellowship, she will continue to investigate these paradoxes by working on an article titled “Why Hitler Was a Vegetarian and Dachau Had an Herb Garden.” Intended to form the core of a book-length study of modern German food politics, this article places Nazi enthusiasm for health foods and organic gardening into the larger history of German radical politics (both left and right) and its persistent links to various “natural” foods movements since the revolution of 1848. Treitel will show that questions of national identity and political power since 1848 have been mediated through food, and that food therefore offers an ideal vehicle for exploring the paradoxical possibilities of German modernity.
Treitel earned a PhD in history from Harvard University in 1999, an MA in history and philosophy of science from Indiana University in 1991, and a BA in chemistry from Carleton College in 1988. Her scholarly work has received support from the American Historical Association (Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant, 2000), the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 1998–1999), and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (various grants from 1993 to 1999). She has taught at Claremont McKenna College and Wellesley College.