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International Relations and Politics Program (IRPP)

Atomic Food: Mediating Food Irradiation in Cold War Europe

Promoting Peace • Preserving Perishables • Producing Profits?

Karin Zachmann, Wednesday, October 14, 2009

4:30pm, Adamson Wing, 136A Baker Hall

Karin Zachmann is Professor of History of Technology at the Central Institute for the History of Technology and the Technical University of Munich. She is known internationally for her scholarship on engineering professions and technical education, history of consumption, and gender history. Her 2004 book, Mobilisierung der Frauen. Technik, Geschlecht und Kalter Krieg in der DDR [Mobilization of Women: Technology, Gender, and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic] received the Deutsches Museum’s Award for the Best Book in 2005. MIT Press has recently published her jointly-edited (with Ruth Oldenziel) volume, Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, Technology, and European Users, which has already received considerable praise for its examination of Americanization and technology in Europe through the lens of the famous Cold War kitchen debate between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and American Vice-President Richard Nixon. In 2000 Zachmann published another book co-edited with Oldenziel (and Annie Canel), Crossing Boundaries, Building Bridges. The History of Women Engineers in Cross-Cultural Comparison, 1870s-1990s, which is the most comprehensive comparative study of women engineers and the social, cultural, and gender issues that have confronted them over time. Zachmann’s contributions to these two volumes has drawn on her extensive scholarship on women engineers in the German Democratic Republic (i.e., East Germany).

Professor Zachmann holds or has held numerous elected offices, including Vice Chairman of the German Society for the History of Technology, membership on the Executive Council of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), and membership of the Advisory Board of Technikgeschichte, the premier German-language journal for the history of technology. She teaches a broad range of courses at the TU-Munich, including ones on Technology and the Cold War, Material Culture of Technological Society, and Technology and Foodways. Her current research focuses on the industrialization of food and foodways and includes important transnational chapters on food irradiation.

An avid cyclist, swimmer, and hiker, Zachmann lives in Munich with her husband Dietmar.