Over the past 70 years, the United States transformed from a relatively wholesome and nourishing food system, to what a critic might call a “Cheez-Whiz food culture,” laden with fats, sugar, and ultra-processed unhealthy foods.

How did this come to be? And is it really that bad? We’ll explore a few crises — how the race riots of 1967-68, and the economic problems of the early 1970s — led to policies that attempted to help solve these challenges, but instead led to a radical change in what Americans eat.

Professor Pietrobon will explore the past 70 years of American food history, as well as the political and public fights over what and how we eat. He’ll examine the unintended consequences of how choices by the government, ad agencies, and major food corporations helped to transform America into what food writer Greg Crister calls “the fattest nation on earth.”