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Eduardo Brondizio
IUB Anthropology

Rick Wilk
IUB Anthropology

Last modified: Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Food Ph.D. is the first of its kind

Sept. 4, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Bloomington Anthropology Department now offers a Ph.D. in the anthropology of food.

"Food studies of all kinds are increasing in popularity," said Anthropology Department Chair Eduardo Brondizio. "IU offers the first program in the world leading to a Ph.D. in the social science of food."

In integrating the department's food specialists with scientists, humanities scholars and social scientists, the food studies Ph D. program is deeply multidisciplinary. In all, program administrators plan to involve 37 faculty throughout the IU Bloomington campus. Coursework covers prehistory and social change, human evolution and adaptation, health and nutrition, political economy and development, food production and environment, and food and identity. The department is also working to offer a cooperative student exchange with a similarly focused M.A. program at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

"Food connects a host of contemporary issues, ranging from obesity to ecological dead zones to fair-trade coffee to tourism," Brondizio said. "Students will have opportunities to work on a wide range of food-related topics in a department whose menu already offers courses on chocolate's history, primate diets, the social and environmental causes of famine, and many others."

Program Director Rick Wilk believes Indiana is an ideal place to study human food practices.

"Indiana is home to a broad array of old and new immigrant communities, which create a rich context for understanding the importance of food in culture, and the growing globalization of the world food system," he said. "Bloomington is at the forefront of the farmer's market revival, serving as a regional distribution center for organic groceries and produce with a rich ethnic food culture.

"Faculty and students will team with local food communities and build working relationships with Bloomington's 'slow food' chapter, the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market, several community-supported agriculture operations, two microbreweries, two wineries, local farmers, gardeners, and food assistance programs for the poor and elderly and their strong local food movement."

Students interested in the program are encouraged to submit applications for the 2008 fall semester. More information is available at

To speak with Anthropology Department Chair Eduardo Brondizio, please call 812-855-6181 or e-mail Program Dirtector Rick Wilk is on leave this semester, but can be reached via