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Nutritional Anthropology

Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Nutrition

Second Edition

Edited by Darna L. Dufour, Alan H. Goodman, and Gretel H. Pelto

Publication Date - June 2012

ISBN: 9780199738144

544 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $124.99

Fuses issues past and present, local and global, and biological and cultural in order to give students a comprehensive foundation in food and nutrition


Revised for the first time in ten years, the second edition of Nutritional Anthropology: Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Nutrition continues to blend biological and cultural approaches to this dynamic discipline.

While this revision maintains the format and philosophy that grounded the first edition, the text has been revamped and revitalized with new and updated readings, sections, introductions, and pedagogical materials that cover current global food trade and persistent problems of hunger in equal measure.

Unlike any other book on the market, Nutritional Anthropology fuses issues past and present, local and global, and biological and cultural in order to give students a comprehensive foundation in food and nutrition.

New to this Edition

  • Seven original essays written specifically for this book
  • Completely revised sets of readings, section introductions, and pedagogical material
  • Maps showing the locations of case studies
  • A new section, "Looking for Solutions," helps students solve issues relating to food and nutrition

About the Author(s)

Darna L. Dufour is Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Alan H. Goodman is Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty and Professor of Biological Anthropology at Hampshire College.

Gretel H. Pelto is Graduate Professor of Nutritional Anthropology at Cornell University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 1999


"We need a biocultural reader like Nutritional Anthropology. Despite the fact that food studies is such a growing arena today, there really isn't another book like it out there."--Elaine Gerber, Montclair State University

"The selection of articles, the commentaries, and the exercises all make this the best text for my course."--Jim Bindon, University of Alabama

"An excellent collection of essays. The editors are some of the most qualified anthropologists on the topic and the authors they have selected provide plenty of material for anthropologists who place an emphasis on current issues."--Ryan Adams, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Table of Contents

    * = Original essay written for this book
    1. The Biocultural Perspective in Nutritional Anthropology, Gretel H. Pelto, Darna L. Dufour, and Alan H. Goodman
    2. Eating Christmas in the Kalahari, Richard B. Lee
    3. No Heads, No Feet, No Monkeys, No Dogs: The Evolution of Personal Food Taboos, Miriam S. Chaiken
    4. From Hunger Foods to Heritage Foods: Challenges to Food Localization in Lao PDR, Penny Van Esterik
    5. Rough Food, John T. Omohundro
    Unit I. The Biological Baseline
    6. The Diets of Early Hominins, Peter S. Ungar and Matt Sponheimer
    7. What Hunters Do for a Living, or, How to Make Out on Scarce Resources, Richard B. Lee
    8. Food for Thought: Did The First Cooked Meals Help Fuel the Dramatic Evolutionary Expansion of the Human Brain?, Ann Gibbons
    9. Paleolithic Nutrition: A Consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications, S. Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner
    Unit II. Agriculture: The Great Revolution
    10. Origins of Agriculture, Mark N. Cohen
    11. Bread and Beer: The Early Use of Cereals in the Human Diet, Solomon H. Katz and Mary M. Voigt
    12. Disease and Death at Dr. Dickson's Mounds, Alan H. Goodman and George J. Armelagos
    Unit III. Variation in Contemporary Food Systems: Pluses and Minuses
    13. Use of Tropical Rainforests by Native Amazonians, Darna L. Dufour
    14. Adopting Cultivation to Remain Pastoralists: The Diversification of Maasai Livelihoods in Northern Tanzania, J. Terrence McCabe, Paul W. Leslie, and Laura DeLuca
    15. "Now It Is an Easy Life": Women's Accounts of Cassava, Millets, and Labor in South India, Elizabeth Finnis
    16. Power Steer, Michael Pollan
    * 17. Anthropological Perspectives on the Global Food Crisis, David A. Himmelgreen, Nancy Romero-Daza, and Charlotte A. Noble
    Unit IV. Explaining Foodways #1: Materialist Approaches
    18. India's Sacred Cow, Marvin Harris
    19. Insects as Food: A Case Study from the Northwest Amazon, Darna L. Dufour
    20. Why on Earth?: Evaluation Hypotheses about the Physiological Functions of Human Geophagy, Sera L.Young, Paul W. Sherman, Julius B. Lucks, and Gretel H. Pelto
    Unit V. Explaining Foodways #2: Ideology, Symbolism, and Social Power
    21. The Children Cry for Bread: Hegemony and the Transformation of Consumption, Mary J. Weismantel
    22. Japanese Mothers and Obent?s: The Lunch-Box as Ideological State Apparatus, Anne Alison
    23. Techne Versus Technoscience: Divergent (and Ambiguous) Notions of Food "Quality" in the French Debate over GM Crops, Chaia Heller
    Unit VI. Adapting Foods to People and People to Foods
    24. A Closer Look at the Nutritional Implications of Bitter Cassava Use, Darna L. Dufour
    25. Pellagra, Sex, and Gender: Biocultural Perspectives on Differential Diets and Health, Barrett P. Brenton
    26. "Drink Milk for Fitness": The Cultural Politics of Human Biological Variation and Milk Consumption in the United States, Andrea S. Wiley
    * 27. The Maya in Disneyland: Child Growth as a Marker of Nutritional, Economic, and Political Ecology, Barry Bogin
    * 28. Kung Nutritional Status and the Original "Affluent Society"--A New Analysis, Barry Bogin
    Unit VII. Foods as Medicine
    29. Spices: The Pharmacology of the Exotic, Nina Etkin
    30. Coping with a Nutrient Deficiency: Cultural Models of Vitamin A Deficiency in Northern Niger, Lauren S. Blum, Gretel H. Pelto, and Pertti J. Pelto
    31. From Aphrodisiac to Health Food: A Cultural History of Chocolate, Louis E. Grivetti
    32. You Are What You Eat: Religious Aspects of the Health Food Movement, Jill Dubisch
    Unit VIII. Undernutrition and Its Discontents
    33. The Effect of Malnutrition on Human Development: A 24-Year Study of Well-Nourished and Malnourished Children Living in a Poor Mexican Village, Adolfo Chávez, Celia Martínez, and Beatriz Soberanes
    34. Body Size, Adaptation, and Function, Reynaldo Martorell
    * 35. Hungry But Not Starving: Functional Consequences of Undernutrition in Adults, Richard L. Bender and Darna L. Dufour
    36. New Variant Famine: AIDS and Food Crisis in Southern Africa, Alex de Waal and Alan Whiteside
    * 37. Child Malnutrition and Famine in the Nigerien Sahel, Catherine Panter-Brick, Rachel Casiday, Katherine Hampshire, and Kate Kilpatrick
    Unit IX. Dietary Transitions and Globalization
    38. Diet and Delocalization: Dietary Changes Since 1750, Gretel H. Pelto and Pertti J. Pelto
    39. When the Turtle Collapses, the World Ends, Bernard Nietschmann
    40. How Sushi Went Global, Theodore C. Bestor
    * 41. Nutrition Transitions: A View from Anthropology, Darna L. Dufour and Richard L. Bender
    42. Coca-Colonization of Diets in The Yucatan, Thomas L. Leatherman and Alan Goodman
    Unit X. Cultural Ecology of Infant and Young Child Feeding
    43. Evolution of Infant and Young Child Feeding: Implications for Contemporary Public Health, Daniel W. Sellen
    44. Premastication: The Second Arm of Infant and Young Child Feeding for Health and Survival?, Gretel H. Pelto, Yuanyuan Zhang, and Jean-Pierre Habicht
    45. Feeding Babies: Practices, Constraints, and Interventions, Gretel H. Pelto, Emily Levitt, and Lucy Thairu
    Unit XI. Overnutrition and Hunger in Lands of Plenty
    46. Children's Experiences of Food Insecurity Can Assist in Understanding Its Effect on Their Well-Being, Carol L. Connell, Kristi L. Lofton, Kathy Yadrick, and Timothy A. Rehner
    47. Trading Nutrition for Education: Nutritional Status and the Sale of Snack Foods in an Eastern Kentucky School, Deborah L. Crooks
    * 48. Big Fat Myths, Alexandra A. Brewis
    49. The Pima Paradox, Malcolm Gladwell
    50. Junk Food Monkeys, Robert M. Sapolsky
    51. Evolutionary and Anthropological Perspectives on Optimal Foraging in Obesogenic Environments, Leslie Sue Lieberman
    Unit XII. Looking for Solutions
    52. From One Farmer, Hope--and Reason for Worry, Gaia Vince
    53. Direct from Farm to Table: Community Supported Agriculture in Western Illinois, Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, Christopher D. Merrett, and Patrick McLaughlin
    54. Could Less Meat Mean More Food?, Erik Stokstad
    55. Marked Improvement in Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism in Diabetic Australian Aborigines After Temporary Reversion to Traditional Lifestyle, Kerin O'Dea
    Appendix A
    Appendix B

Related Title

Food and Nutrition Economics