School of Global Studies

The Anthropology of Food (001AU)

The Anthropology of Food

Module 001AU

Module details for 2017/18.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

Food is at the centre of contemporary debates on social and cultural processes. This module is designed to explore how and why it has become an increasing focus in academic debates, the media, and people's lives. An important part of this is the way food intersects with a huge range of ideas and practices at different levels, from intimate and personal engagement through the body, memory and the senses, to transnational economic and political processes. While there has long been a body of work on food as a medium for constructing self-identities and forging and maintaining social relations, in recent years there has been increasing attention paid to food as a focus for activism, ethical consumption, and the realization of social and political values.
The module will look at and problematize different aspects of food, encompassing production, exchange and consumption. We will cover topics as diverse as agrarian transformations, organics, certifications and traceability, markets, class differentiation through consumption, nutrition and health. In so doing the module will use anthropological perspectives to unpack how food has come to symbolize sociality, but also to consider the tensions, conflicts and debates that have emerged ¿ both in private and public life ¿ over the values and moralities that different food chains engender.

Assessment: 7,000 word dissertation

Module learning outcomes

demonstrate knowledge of key themes in the anthropology of food

show awareness of how these key themes relate to wider debates on politics, material culture and consumption within anthropology

demonstrate knowledge of ethnographic and cross-cultural case studies of food

use ethnographic data to illustrate, interrogate and/or critique different theoretical approaches to food, including those that relate social/cultural values to money/market values

carry out independent research on the anthropology of food, including devising original research questions, collecting and analysing relevant data, and developing independent conclusions

Dissertation (5000 words)End of Year Assessment Week 1 Thu 16:00100.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterSeminar3 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Nigel Eltringham

Assess convenor

Miss Emilia Roycroft

Assess convenor

Miss Susan Chater

Assess convenor

Dr Peter Luetchford


Please note that the University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver courses and modules in accordance with the descriptions set out here. However, the University keeps its courses and modules under review with the aim of enhancing quality. Some changes may therefore be made to the form or content of courses or modules shown as part of the normal process of curriculum management.

The University reserves the right to make changes to the contents or methods of delivery of, or to discontinue, merge or combine modules, if such action is reasonably considered necessary by the University. If there are not sufficient student numbers to make a module viable, the University reserves the right to cancel such a module. If the University withdraws or discontinues a module, it will use its reasonable endeavours to provide a suitable alternative module.