Kinkela essay published in ‘A Cultural History of Insects in the Modern Age’

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Dr. David Kinkela

Dr. David Kinkela

“Food and Insects,” an essay written by Department of History Professor David Kinkela, has been published in “A Cultural History of Insects in the Modern Age.”

Each of the work’s six hardcover volumes covers the same topics, so readers can either study a period/volume or follow a topic across history. Dr. Kinkela’s essay appears in the Modern Age volume (1920 to the present).

“I looked at music, film, television and new movies, and how ideas of insects and food production were depicted in particular cultural forms,” Dr. Kinkela explained. For example: the bool weevil, a beetle, in the traditional blues song “Bool Weevil Blues.”

Other areas explored include monster movies of the 1950s, how gigantic insects were depicted on movie screens in that same era and the rhetoric around organic and industrial farming and pest control in the agricultural system.
“I also discovered a great ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, showing killer bees invading the U.S., with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd,” Kinkela noted. Also found was “The Bee Movie,” voiced by comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

Kinkela incorporates research that he compiled for essay in two courses that he teaches: HIST 352: U.S. Environmental History and HIST 310: World Environmental History.

“A Cultural History of Insects” reveals people’s relationship with insects – in life and in death – and is published by Bloombury Academic Presson.

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