Kendra Smith-Howard

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., St. Olaf College

060Q Social Science
Phone: (518) 442-5375
Fax: (518) 442-5301


Undergraduate Courses:

HIS 101: American Political and Social History II
HIS 277: Culture & History of Food in the United States
HIS 314: Progressive Generation, 1900-1931
HIS 329: American Environmental History
HIS 489Z: Senior Research Seminar

Graduate Courses:
HIS 603/628/630: Reading Seminar in American Environmental History
HIS 603/628/630: Reading Seminar in Consumer Culture & Consumer Politics
HIS 603/628/630: Reading Seminar in History of Public Health in the United States
HIS 630: Research Seminar: Environmental History of New England and New York
HIS 609/629: Research Seminar: Rural and Agricultural History

Current Research Interests:

My research focuses on environmental history in the twentieth-century United States, particularly in its intersection with histories of agriculture, consumer culture, technology and public health. I am interested in directing research in histories of the environment, agriculture and rural life, public health, and consumer culture, particularly in the late nineteenth and twentieth-century United States.

My book, Pure and Modern Milk, calls attention to the ways in which new standards of purity and changing consumer practices reconfigured the work and material environment of the dairy farm in the twentieth century. My new project, tentatively titled Green & Clean, traces how the changing practices of cleaning up altered the ways in which Americans knew nature in the twentieth century, and tracks the environmental consequences of the pursuit of cleanliness in the US..

Recent Publications:

Pure and Modern Milk: An Environmental History Since 1900. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

“The Built Environment of the Midwestern Farmstead: Ecology, Technology, Labor,” in The Rural Midwest Since 1945, edited by J.L. Anderson. Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, in press.

“Antibiotics and Agricultural Change: Purifying Milk and Protecting Health in the Postwar Era”, Agricultural History (summer 2010): 327-351.

“American Studies and Environmental History: Provoking Thought and Practice,” American Studies (Lawrence, KS) 46 (Spring/Summer 2005): 5-22

Links to:

Full Curriculum Vitae

See Professor Kendra-Smith Howard discuss her just published book, Pure and Modern Milk: An Environmental History Since 1900. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), a look at the evolving history of milk since 1900.


Listen to Professor Smith-Howard interpret John F. Kennedy's 1962 Address to the National Conference on Milk and Nutrition about public fears that U.S. milk supplies were contaminated with radiation. BackStory episode: "Health Nuts: A History of Nutritional Advice."

Listen to Professor Smith-Howard’s interview on Backstory Radio’s new book club series, “Bookstory," which featured Pure and Modern Milk as their January 2018 pick: