Rebecca Earle

Professor of History, University of Warwick

Rebecca Earle holds a BA in Mathematics, History of Art, and German from Bryn Mawr
College, PA, and an MSc in Mathematics, an MA in History and a Ph.D. in History from
the University of Warwick. She has taught in the History Department at the University of
Warwick since completing her doctorate. Her earlier work studied Spanish American
cultural and political history and focused particularly on the nature of identity, memory
and embodiment. Her second monograph, The Return of the Native: Indians and Myth-
Making in Spanish America, 1810-1930
(Duke University Press, 2008), for instance,
offered a hemispheric interpretation of elite nationalism in postcolonial Spanish America. 
Her third monograph, The Body of the Conquistador: Food, Race and the Colonial
Experience in Spanish America, 1492-1700
(Cambridge University Press, 2012), explored
the centrality of food in the construction of colonial space and the ‘racial’ categories that
underpinned it. This book was awarded the 2013 Bolton–Johnson Prize for the best work
in English on Latin American history. She has also published on the distinctive Spanish
American artistic genre known as casta painting, the history of letter writing (ed., Epistolary
Selves: Letters and Letter-Writers 1600-1945
[Ashgate, 1999]), the cultural meaning of drunken-
ness, and other topics.

Her current research explores the cultural significance of food and eating in the modern world.
At the Swedish Collegium, she will be writing a global history of the potato. This project uses
the emergence of the potato as an Enlightenment superfood to explore the connections between
everyday life and new ideas of individualism, political economy and the state. The overall aim is
to explain the genesis of our current obsession with balancing individual dietary freedom with
the health of the body politic.

This information is accurate as of the academic year 2017-18.