Participe aux programmes de recherche suivants :

Arnaud PAGE

Maître de conférences en civilisation britannique, Sorbonne Université
Thèmes de recherche

Chemistry and food; Environmental history; History of science.


My research interests lie in the history of science in Britain and the British Empire since 1840, with a particular focus on the various sciences of nutrition (of plants, animals, and men). My current research project “Rational feeding: a history of nitrogen, 1840-1914” seeks to show that, far from being limited to debates between a few agricultural chemists, discussions about nitrogen were widespread in Britain and its empire. This project analyses how nitrogen played a key role in turning agricultural and food chemistry into quantitative sciences, which could then be used to rationalize the nutrition of plants and cattle, but also of soldiers, prisoners, the working-class, colonized people, etc.


Publications significatives

As Editor of Special Issue

“The Fertiliser Trade”, special issue of Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, vol. 62, n°1, 2021 (with Laurent Herment & Christine Strottman).

“A Long Awakening? Environmental Concerns in the United Kingdom since the Nineteenth Century”, special issue of the French Journal of British Studies (Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique), vol. 23, n°3, 2018.

Articles and chapters (selection)

“Pure White Bread ? Bleached Flour, Contestations and Regulation in Great Britain in the first Half of the Twentieth Century”, Technology and Culture, 2022 (forthcoming)

“Glutenophilia: Chemistry and Flour Quality in Nineteenth-Century France and Great Britain”, Ambix: The Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, vol. 68, n° 4, 2021 (with Maxime Guesnon). 

“The ‘Price of Nitrogen’ at the End of the Nineteenth Century”, Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, vol. 62, n° 1,  2021, pp. 49-70 (with Laurent Herment).

« Guerres et fertilisation : essor des engrais azotés en France et en Grande-Bretagne, 1918-1960 », in Christophe Bonneuil, Margot Lyautey & Léna Humbert (eds.), Histoire des modernisations agricoles au XXe siècle, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2021, pp. 39-52.

“Fertility from Urban Wastes? The Case for Composting in Great Britain, 1920s–1960s”, Environment and History, vol. 25, n° 1, 2019, pp. 3–22. 

“A Toxic System: Lord Douglas of Barloch and the Fight for ‘Natural’ Food and Water (1940s-60s)”, Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique, vol. 23, n° 3, 2018.

“Meaningful plots: Leisure, ‘Rational Recreation’ and the Politics of Gardening in British Allotments (mid 19th-mid 20th Centuries)”', Angles: French Perspectives on the Anglophone World, 2017.

“'The Greatest Victory which the Chemist has won in the Fight against Nature'? Nitrogenous Fertilisers in Great Britain and the British Empire, 1910s-1950s”, History of Science, vol. 54, n° 4, 2016, pp. 383-398.

Recent talks (selection)

“Chemical subjects: the science of food in the nineteenth century”, Workshop on British history of science and technology, Amiens, 3 December 2021.  

“Nitrogen, the staff of life: measuring food intake before the calorie”, Food History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London, 4 March 2021 (online).

“‘Flesh-forming substances’: Proteins in Museums, Cookery Books and Advertisement in the Victorian Era”, North American Conference on British Studies, 15 Novembre 2020 (online).

“Gluten and flour quality”, Rural History Conference, EHESS, Paris, 10-13 September 2019.

“Poisoned bread? Bleached flour and new forms of adulteration in 20th c. Britain”, Workshop ‘Bodies at stake: Occupational and Environmental Poisons in industrial societies (late 18th-21st c.)’, Maison Française d’Oxford (UK), 14 February 2019. 

“The quantification of Life: nitrogen and human nutrition in the 19th century”, “Socialising Nitrogen” Conference, Lancaster Environment Centre (UK), 27 November 2018.

“‘The world’s greatest fix’? Essor des engrais azotés en Grande-Bretagne et en France, 1918-1960”, Conference “Une autre histoire des modernisations agricoles au XXème siècle”, AgroParisTech / CNRS, Paris, 15-16 September 2017. 

Events (co)-organised

Co-convenor of the “Séminaire franco-britannique d'histoire” (Paris) since 2015.

“Nutrition beyond the lab” : Session at the North American Conference on British Studies, 15 November 2020, Chicago (online).

“Grading and the food grain chain : Assessing the end-use qualities of wheat and other cereals”, Session at the Rural History Conference, 10-13 September 2019, Paris, with Jonas Marian Albrecht  (JKU Linz, Austria). 

“Fertilisers in the long 19th century and beyond : Usage, commercialisation and production” : 3 sessions, Rural History Conference, 11-14 September 2017, Leuven University, Belgium, with Laurent Herment (CNRS / EHESS) & Christine Strotmann (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin).

“Environmental questions in Great Britain: Between visibility and marginalisation”, Workshop, Sorbonne Université, June 2017.


Responsabilités collectives

Responsable Etudiants Erasmus (étudiants entrants).

Secrétaire de rédaction de la Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique

Membre du comité d’organisation du Séminaire franco-britannique d'histoire (Sorbonne Université)