Skip to main content
Xaq Frohlich

Xaq Frohlich

Assistant Professor


Xaq Frohlich

Contact Me


331 Thach Hall

Office Hours

By Appointment


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

BA, University of Texas at Austin

About Me

Xaq Frohlich joined Auburn University’s Department of History in the fall of 2017. His research focuses on the historical intersections of science, law, and markets, and how the three have shaped our modern, everyday understanding of food, risk, and responsibility. His work explores questions relating to consumerism and the changing relationships between the state, experts, and the public in the production of everyday knowledge: how do we “know” what we know about food and its relation to health? In what ways has our informational environment for food changed with the industrialization of food production and retailing?

Frohlich is currently completing a book manuscript, From Label to Table: Regulating Food in the Information Age, which explores the history of efforts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manage food markets through the regulation of food labels in the second half of the twentieth century. The book explores the evolving policy debates between government officials, food industry representatives, consumer advocacy groups, and medical professionals over what kinds of expert information should the public, or even does the public need to know about the foods American consumers purchase at the supermarket.

Frohlich earned his PhD in history, anthropology, and STS at MIT in 2011. He was a 2016–2017 visiting fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin, a Fulbright scholar in Spain, a visiting professor at the University of Vienna and Paris Dauphine University, and a postdoc at KAIST in South Korea. He teaches the Technology & Civilizations I & II core sequence and also teaches courses on food and power, the intersections of science, technology and the law, and the history of business and capitalism.

Research Interests

food and culture; science & technology studies; 20th-century U.S. politics; law & society; history of technology


Articles, Essays, and Chapters

  • “The Rise (and Fall) of the Food-Drug Line: Classification, Gatekeepers, and Spatial Mediation in Regulating U.S. Food and Health Markets,” in Angela N. H. Creager & Jean-Paul Gaudillière (Eds.), Risk on the Table: Food Production, Health, and the Environment (Berghahn Books, 2021).
  • “The informational turn in food politics: The U.S. FDA’s nutrition label as information infrastructure,” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 47, Iss. 2 (Apr. 2017): 145-171.
  • “Accounting for Taste: Regulating Food Labeling in the ‘Affluent Society,’ 1945-1995,” Enterprise & Society Vol. 13, No. 4 (December 2012): 744-761.
  • “Buyer be-aware: The ethics of food labelling reform and ‘mobilizing the food consumer’,” in Global food security: ethical and legal challenges, eds. Carlos M. Romeo Casabona, Leire Escajedo San Epifanio and Aitziber Emaldi Cirión (Wageningen Acad. Pub., 2010), 221-227.

Other Publications

  • “게맛살, 마가린, 올리브유: 가짜 식품은 나쁜 음식인가?” [Transl.: “Crab Surimi, Margarine, and Olive Oil: Is Fake Food Bad Food?”] Magazine Epi Vol. 1 (Sept. 2017): 140-149.
  • Tsukiji on the Verge of Change,” Food+City Magazine, Issue 2 (Feb. 2017): 30-39.
  • “Labels for Life” Limn Magazine No. 4, “Food Infrastructures” (Spring 2014): 42-45.
  • “What’s the Beef with Horsemeat?,” Risk & Regulation Magazine No. 25 (Spring 2013): 20-21.

Courses Taught

  • HIST 1210: Technology and Civilization I
  • HIST 1220: Technology and Civilization II
  • HIST 3540: Special Topics: Food and Power
  • HIST 3540: Special Topics: Science, Technology and 'the Law'
  • HIST 7510: Introduction to the Historiography of Technology
  • HIST 7970: Special Topics: History of Business, Markets, and Capitalism