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Back to the Past: The Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution, and "New" Paradigms for Living in a Rapidly Changing World

Date: 04/08/13
Time: 5:30pm
Audience: Public
Sponsored By: EvoS Program, CAS, EvoS Club
Location: LC102
Contact: Briana Tauber, x2379, btauber25@hawkmail.newpaltz.edu

A talk by Hamilton Stapell, Assistant Professor of History at SUNY New Paltz and creator of one of the first college-level courses on ancestral health: EVO 201 Evolution and Human Health.

Back to the Past: The Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution, and “New” Paradigms for Living in a Rapidly Changing World
The current Ancestral Health movement (a.k.a. Paleo movement) is typically understood as a recent phenomenon, originating with Boyd Eaton’s 1985 landmark paper, “Paleolithic Nutrition. A Consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications.” However, a similar movement swept the United States and Europe more than 100 years ago. Evidence from late nineteenth and early twentieth century sources – including those from philosophy, literature, art, and the popular press – demonstrates the application of Darwin’s new theory of evolution to the health problems of the time. Fearing the deleterious effects of mass urbanization and industrialization, proponents of the Physical Culture movement offered many familiar "paleo" recommendations: the consumption of whole foods, periodic fasting, outdoor exercise, weight training, drugless medical treatments, and exposure to sunlight. And, similar to today, these early physical culturalists were often branded as “kooks” by the medical establishment and mainstream society. The central argument of this presentation is that Physical Culture movement of 100 years ago and the Ancestral Health movement of today are both responses to rapid social, economic, and technological change, namely to the Industrial Revolution and the Digital Revolution respectively.