1st Edition

Globalizing the Soybean Fat, Feed, and Sometimes Food, c. 1900–1950

By Ines Prodöhl Copyright 2023
    204 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Globalizing the Soybean asks how the soybean conquered the West and analyzes why and how the crop gained entry into agriculture and industry in regions beyond Asia in the first half of the twentieth century.

    Historian Ines Prodöhl describes the soybean’s journey centered on three hubs: Northeast China, as the crop’s main growing area up to the Second World War; Germany, to where most of the beans in the interwar period were shipped; and the United States, which became the leading cultivator of soy worldwide during the 1940s. This book explores the German and U.S. adoption of the soybean being closely tied to global economic and political changes, such as the two world wars and the Great Depression. The attraction of the soybean to stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic was linked to a need for cheap alternatives to butter and lard and a desire for greater quantities of meat, which led to the soybean becoming a cheap resource for fat and fodder. Only occasionally was it also used as food.

    This volume is useful for anyone who is studying or interested in economic history and commodity trading in the twentieth century. It is also connected to the histories of capitalism, globalization, imperialism, and materiality.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license

    1. Soy around 1900 in a Global Context 2. Commodifying Soy in Europe: Technological Change, Imperialism, and Globalization 3. Fat and Feed in Germany 4. Americanizing Soy


    Ines Prodöhl is associate professor in history at the University of Bergen, Norway. She specializes in modern economic and global history and has published many works on the history of soybeans and fat.