Book Release: Solomon’s “Metabolic Living”


Image via Duke UP website

Newly released this May 2016 from Duke University Press is Harris Solomon’s Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India (available here.) In this text, Solomon takes an environmental approach to obesity as a global problem, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Mumbai, India. Rather than reading obesity as the result of the exportation of Western diets and food items, the author addresses food, fat, and the body as ‘porous’ with the city and the state. Obesity and diabetes, Solomon argues, are a matter of “absorption” between bodies and the environments in which they operate. Clinics, social service offices, food companies, markets, and kitchens exist between the domains of the body and the state: sites at which the relationship between the individual body and the larger societal structures emerge and develop, altering local experiences of obesity, food, and metabolic illnesses.

This text will interest medical social scientists and scholars of medical humanities interested in the intersections between urban life and human health, and between the environment and the body.

About the author: Harris Solomon is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Global Health at Duke University.

AAA 2015 Sessions: Food Sovereignty and Food Economies

Last Fall 2014, we featured a series of blog entries highlighting sessions at the AAA 2014 Annual Meeting on topics of interest to our readers. This year, we feature sessions from this year’s AAA 2015 Annual Meeting, to be held November 18-22 in Denver, Colorado (more information here.) You can also browse another past installment of the blog, where we highlighted sessions on biomedicine and the body at the upcoming Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) meeting, also in Denver, to be held November 11-14 (details here.)

This week, we present three paper sessions on anthropological approaches to food sovereignty and food economies: topics that have been increasingly of interest to medical anthropologists who study related issues such as body image, preventative care, nutrition, and well-being. The sessions are organized chronologically by date.

Image via AAA Website

Image via AAA Website

Food Values in Europe: Sustainable Economies, Power, and Activism

Thursday, November 19th 8:00am-9:45am (details here.)

Topics in this session will include the decommodification of food and organic food supplies; organic food provisioning in Catalonia; food values amongst British-born African Caribbean peoples in the United Kingdom; food waste and recycling in southern Spain; food politics, communities, and the garden in the Czech Republic; sustainability in a Galician dairy farm; and food ideologies in an urban Portuguese garden. The session crosses numerous topics of study including European cultures, sustainability and the environment, cross-cultural food practices, green space and the role of the garden, and global nutrition.

Critical Perspectives on Food Sovereignty, Food Justice, and Food Citizenship

Friday, November 20th 1:45pm-3:30pm (details here.)

This session will include presentations on the following topics: agricultural activism in Cuba; food access amongst migrant farm laborers; food justice at the border of the United States and Mexico; food sovereignty in Mexico in popular narratives; food literacy amongst women in a food-insecure neighborhood; and an analysis of divergent perspectives on food justice. These papers will offer valuable perspectives on the role of food in disparities across economic classes and across national borders.

New Directions in Agriculture and Culture: The Convergences of Food, Labor, and Neoliberalism

Saturday, November 21st 8:00am-9:45am (details here.)

Presenters in this session will address: a case study in sustainable entrepreneurship; food sovereignty and food landscapes in Detroit, Michigan; labor and food in a Wisconsin farm-to-table network; Haitian farmers and socioeconomic change; technoscience, translation, and olive oil; seeds and labor on the shorelines of Turkey; and an ecological study of resistance and labor on a South African plantation. These sessions will appeal to scholars who work on economic anthropology, nutrition, or political ecology.