Emily Martin

PhD Student

North America

Emily Martin is a third year PhD student interested in the long history of food and medicine in the United States. Her proposed dissertation project argues that food played a pivotal role in the shifting landscape of American medicine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Clinicians, public health experts, and social reformers medicalized food during moments of medical uncertainty to control and marginalize populations deemed undesirable. She is particularly interested how this process of medicalization also provides patients a vehicle to transform their cultural experience into medical expertise. Her projects focuses on four key case studies representing different pivotal moments in American medicine—the 1832-1866 cholera epidemic, the 1900 plague outbreak in San Francisco, the obesity epidemic in the 1960s-1980s and the AIDS epidemic before 1996.

She completed her B.A. with honors in history and classics at Wellesley College, and continues to dabble in studies of the ancient mediteranean and the reception of Galenic medicine in the 19th century United States. 

Research Interests 

  • Food history
  • History of medicine 
  • Immigration history 
  • Science and technology studies
  • Sociology of medicine 

Fellowships and Awards 

2022 Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion New Directions in Theology Grantee

2021 Oxford Food Symposium Rising Scholar 

2021 Edna V. Moffett Fellow 


B.A., summa cum laude with honors in History and Classics, Wellesley College, 2021