The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

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Cindy Lobel’s obituary in today’s New York Times

A beautiful obituary for Cindy has been published in the New York Times. Here is an excerpt:

By 2003, when Professor Lobel earned her doctoral degree in history from the City University, culinarily inventive and locally sourced delicacies had become an American obsession. Bookstore shelves were filling with popular treatises on the culture of food and eating. But few historians had researched the subject from an academic standpoint.

About a decade later, she published her doctoral dissertation, “Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York” (2014), which examined the way technology, consumerism, infrastructure, class, race, gender, public policy and the market influenced what, where and how New Yorkers ate in the 1800s.

“It was immediately recognized as a critically important book by academics,” said Carol Berkin, a professor of history for the City University at Baruch College and the Graduate Center.

Reviewing the book for The New York Times, Sam Roberts wrote, “In workmanlike prose, she uses food as a prism to explore social and cultural trends that, perhaps surprisingly, resonate in debates of today, which sometimes mistakenly suggest that ‘industrialization and agribusiness is new to this generation.’ ”

Among her observations on gender norms, Professor Lobel wrote that women willing to eat in restaurants three steps down from street level were once considered “of ill repute,” Professor Berkin said.

Megan Elias, the director of the Boston University gastronomy program, said, “Cindy was established as a historian who came to her research of food through her research of cities and by doing so, she helped legitimize the entire field of study.”

Her book earned the New York State Historical Association’s Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize in 2013 and the 2014 Herbert H. Lehman Prize for distinguished scholarship in New York history, awarded by the New York Academy of History.

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