PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BA, University of Texas at Austin
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's book, From Label to Table: Regulating Food in America in the Information Age (University of California Press, 2023), tells a biography of the food label. By tracing policy debates at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it describes the emergence of our present Information Age in food and diet markets and how powerful government offices inform the public about what they consume. From the early years of FDA food standards, with concerns about consumer protection, up to present-day efforts to modernize the Nutrition Facts panel, From Label to Table explores the evolving popular ideas about food, diet and responsibility for health that inform what goes on the label and who gets to decide that.
Frohlich earned his PhD in history, anthropology, and STS at MIT in 2011. He was a 2016–17 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.
food and culture; science & technology studies; 20th-century U.S. politics; law & society; history of technology