Radical Requiems: The return of the past in British agriculture

Our research projects host a Science, Medicine and Culture in the 19th Century seminar series, and our speaker on Wednesday 25th November is talking on British agriculture. We wondered if this might be of interest to students in your department and if so, we would be very grateful if you could advertise it if at all possible. All are welcome and there is no booking.

Professor Karen Sayer from Leeds Trinity University is speaking on Radical Requiems: The return of the past in British agriculture, 1850-1950 at 5.30 p.m. in Seminar Room 3 at St Anne’s College. The abstract for the talk is:
Through art and literature, the press and even advertising, we think we know what a farm is, but how it is managed and what it is for? Post-war to the mid-C20th the question of when a farm is not a farm was raised in the British press. ‘Where does one draw the line’, one correspondent to The Guardian asked in 1964, ‘between the traditional farmer and his confrontation with the elements and these new industrialised farmers who create their own hazards (and our consumer hazards) by treating their stock as belt-conveyor units?’ This paper will address this kind of juxtaposition/binary opposition — traditional agriculture vs. industrialised agriculture (at least re the farmed animal) – as an artefact and consider where and when this artefact was produced and what effect it had. Requiem for lost traditions harnessed the public’s conscience, and resulted in legislative change, (improved animal welfare from the point of view of ethologists); but, farmers and producers were not slow to capitalise: the naturalised countryside, rescued for the good of the consumer, was always for sale. In essence, the theme of the paper can be captured by the question ‘what is a farm’?

All details are on our project website here: diseasesofmodernlife.org/category/events