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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Kellen Backer

Backer portrait

Faculty Fellow


A&S Curriculum/Instruction

Humanities Faculty

409 Hall of Languages



Kellen Backer is a historian who studies the ways that science, medicine, and technology have shaped people’s understanding of food. His research and writing focuses primarily on modern America, though his work has also extended to transnational food networks.

Currently, he is finishing a monograph on the industrialization of American food during World War II. This project draws on approaches from cultural, social, gender, economic, regulatory, and business histories, as well as approaches from the history of science, medicine, and technology to look at how both production and food cultures changed because of World War II.

Kellen received a jointed Ph.D. in history and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research and teaching are highly interdisciplinary. He has previously taught interdisciplinary courses in the program in Integrated Liberal Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Research and Teaching Interests

Research interests: Modern U.S. history. Food, agricultural, and environmental history. The history of science, medicine, and technology. Social and cultural history. Policy studies. Kellen is the Co-Convener of Envirotech and an active member of the Society of the History of Technology and the American Society for Environmental History.

Teaching interests: History, including the history of science, medicine, and technology, environmental history, and food history. Interdisciplinary approaches to writing. Policy studies and citizenship.


Food and Bodies

Global Consumer Ethics

Imagining Technology in the Past, Present, and Future