Case of the Dead Cheese Master: Migration in Eighteenth-Century Europe

This project is a microhistory based around the life of one obscure historical individual, the cheese master François Tinguely, a native of the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland, who lived, worked, and then died in Russia in the 1790s. His story illuminates larger patterns of migration, both of ideas and of people, in late eighteenth century Europe. His story is both a story of the Russian empire—he worked as a cheese maker at the palace of Gatchina, one of the palaces owned by first Grand Duke, then Emperor Paul (r. 1796-1801)—and of the larger European context. The story of his life and death is embedded in a larger history of technological innovation, in changing cultures and tastes, and in questions of property and ownership.

Principal Investigator: Alison K. Smith

This project was awarded a six-month Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI) Fellowship in 2018.