March 8, 2022

EP. 255 — Does Old MacDonald Need A Makeover? with Professor Gabe Rosenberg

Old MacDonald had a farm—and on that farm he had rich terrain for an episode of Getting Curious. Join Professor Gabe Rosenberg and Jonathan as they explore what agricultural history has to do with our modern understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality. They cover the concept of “animal husbandry,” 4-H clubs, the story of a pig looking for love, and so much more.

Gabriel N. Rosenberg is Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies and History at Duke University, where he studies how gender, race, and sexuality have shaped the history of the modern food system.

His first book, The 4-H Harvest: Sexuality and the State in Rural America, was a gendered history of the iconic rural youth organization, and he is currently writing a book about the interconnections between livestock breeding and the emergence of the human eugenics movement. He writes frequently for The New Republic and has held research fellowships at the National Humanities Center, Yale University, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the American Philosophical Society.

You can follow him on Twitter @gnrosenberg and subscribe to his Substack newsletter “The Strong Paw of Reason” at

Join the conversation, and find out what former guests are up to, by following us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN.

Transcripts for each episode are available at

Love listening to Getting Curious? Now, you can also watch Getting Curious—on Netflix! Head to to dive in.

Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.

Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our associate producer is Zahra Crim. Our editor is Andrew Carson.

Our socials are run and curated by Middle Seat Digital.

Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIN; for more, head to

Getting Curious merch is available on


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness &  Professor Gabe Rosenberg JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Professor Gabe Rosenberg, where I ask him: What does farming have to do with gender and sexuality? Welcome to Getting Curious. This is Jonathan Van Ness. I am so excited for today’s episode because it is mind blowing. It is so interesting. Let’s get to it. Welcome to the show Gabe Rosenberg, who is an associate professor of gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. Yes, you! And history at Duke University. He researches how gender sexuality, and the global food system connect through history and today. So, first of all, welcome, Gabe, how are you? GABE ROSENBERG [00:00:47] I’m doing great. It’s wonderful to be here. Thank you so much for having me.   JVN [00:00

Recent Episodes

May 31, 2023

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will hand down decisions that could have major implications for LGBTQIA+ rights, racial justice, tribal sovereignty, and beyond.

May 24, 2023

We’re dripping in jewels this week on Getting Curious! What does it mean for a diamond to be “hard”? Are lab-grown gems made to perfection? What’s the difference between rubies and pink sapphires?

May 18, 2023

New Orleans was one of America’s most important cities in the early 1800s. It was also one of the most deadly. This week, to mark the new season of Queer Eye, we’re exploring New Orleans history with Dr. Kathryn Olivarius in a special two-part episode.