Miller Center

Colloquium - Rethinking the Kitchen Debate: U.S. Supermarkets and the Cold War Farms Race

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The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to provide critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges.

Shane Hamilton
November 20, 2009
12:30PM - 2:00PM (EST)

Shane Hamilton
Shane Hamilton

The "Kitchen Debate" that took place between Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in July 1959 is a staple in U.S. history surveys, textbooks, and scholarly monographs. A classic Cold War confrontation, the event has been primarily interpreted as a marker of conflicting views of consumer-citizenship and gender identity under the opposed capitalist and communist regimes. Shane Hamilton's paper will, however, reinterpret the historic meeting in the model American kitchen in Moscow's Sokolniki Park as a component of a broader "farms race" centered on the global politics of industrialized agriculture.

Former Miller Center Fellow Shane Hamilton is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Georgia. His first book, Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy, was published in 2008 by Princeton University Press and received the 2009 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Prize from the Agricultural History Society. He is currently working on a book project entitled "Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the American Century." The History News Network selected him as a "Top Young Historian" in 2008.

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