Postgraduate Course: The Anthropology of Food (SCAN11012)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||'Man ist, was man isst' - we are what we eat, says the German proverb. Eating is a basic biological requirement to sustain life, but what we eat and how we eat it is not simply dictated by environment and technology, it is a mark of how we understand ourselves, our place in society, and how we distinguish ourselves from others. This course will draw on a range of anthropological research to explore the culture, economics and politics of food in the modern world. We shall investigate what a focus on food can contribute to the study of ritual, memory, gender, globalization and justice. We shall pay special attention to the political economy of food, exploring what anthropology has contributed to understanding and meeting the challenges of a deeply unjust global food-system, starting with colonialism and now addressing the contemporary period in which governments and planners which must grapple simultaneously with excess and desperation, with 'epidemics' of obesity and ever-rising levels of chronic hunger.
(1) being omnivores;
(2) the semiotics of a meal;
(3) farming systems: peasant, colonial and industrial;
(4) the politics of seeds;
(5) commensality: who eats with whom?
(6) food and gender;
(7) food, class and power;
(8) hunger and plenty;
(9) global food chains;
(10) 'you can never be too rich or too thin'
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
| By the end of the course the students should have a critical understanding of the historical evolution of the anthropology of food production, consumption and exchange and its shifting location within the broader discipline. They should be familiar with the most influential anthropological analyses of food and its role in social or cultural formation, from Malinowski through Steward, the structuralists, the political economists and political ecologists, to more recent emphases on identity and memory or on global assemblages. Critical analysis and discussion of case studies and theoretical essays will build anthropological skills in evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of different approaches.
|Bestor, Theodore C. (2004) Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World, Berkeley, University of California Press.|
Counihan, Carole M. (ed) (1999) The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power, New York, Routledge.
Douglas, Mary (1971) 'Deciphering a meal', in Clifford Geertz (ed), Myth, Symbol and Culture, New York, Norton: 61-81.
Dunn, Elizabeth (2005) 'Standards and person making in East Central Europe', in Aihwa Ong and Stephen Collier (eds), Global Anthropologies: Governmentality, Technology, Ethics, London, Blackwell: 173-193.
Farb, Peter and George Armelagos (1980) Consuming Passions: the Anthropology of Eating, Boston, Houghton Mifflin.
Goody, Jack (1982) Cooking, Cuisine and Class, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Mintz, Sidney (1985) Sweetness and Power: the Place of Sugar in Modern History, Harmondsworth, Penguin.
Ries, Nancy (2009) 'Potato ontology: surviving postsocialism in Russia', Cultural Anthropology 24, 2: 181-212.
Sutton, David e. (2001) Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory, Oxford, Berg.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Prof Francesca Bray
Tel: (0131 6)51 3863
|Course secretary||Miss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122