Mentor: Margot Canaday, legal and political historian
In her dissertation, “Body Politic: Physique and Government in 20th Century America,” Rachel Louise Moran explores how the United States government developed policies over time meant to quite literally ‘shape’ American citizens. In exploring federal nutrition and exercise policy, Moran opens up a new field of inquiry into the overlap of citizenship, policy, health, and body image. From the height-weight tables of the Children’s Bureau to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Moran argues that managing and molding American bodies has long been an interest of federal agencies.
In addition to the Miller, Moran is also Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellow this year. She has previously held the Crawford Family Fellowship in Ethical Inquiry and Cornell University’s Fellowship in the History of Home Economics. Her current research has been made possible by a generous Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation’s program in Science, Technology, and Society. Moran has presented findings from this research at a number of conferences, including those of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the History of Science Society. Moran is advised by Jennifer Mittelstadt (Rutgers) and Lori Ginzberg (Penn State). You can find more about her work at her website.
Publication: “Consuming Relief: Food Stamps and the New Welfare of the New Deal,” The Journal of American History, March 2011.