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Indiana University Bloomington
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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields

Anthropology of Food

Food represents an integral part of human livelihoods, biology, identity, and culture. The practical dimensions and ramifications of food production, consumption and sharing, and the symbolic and ideological meanings attached to food, have relevance across all of anthropology’s subdisciplines – sociocultural anthropology, bioanthropology, archaeology and linguistics. As a theme it integrates aspects of all the four traditional fields of anthropology.

The anthropology department at Indiana University has unique strengths and capabilities in the study of food. The PhD concentration in the anthropology of food draws on those strengths to offer students unparalleled training in the roles of food in (1) prehistoric, historic and modern societies, (2) human evolution and adaptation, (3) human health, (4) political economic relationships, (5) human-environment interactions including sustainability, (6) the representation, construction and maintenance of ethnicity, social class, and cultural identity.

Food Studies is organized as a concentration within anthropology, and each student will normally choose one of the four subfields within the department within which to pursue food studies. We expect students to draw on as much of the diversity of knowledge of all anthropological subfields as possible even while pursuing their degree in one of the existing four subfields.
Prof. Rick Wilk-Director