Anthropology of Food, Digestion

Alternative Research Methods for Alternative Food Systems

On Saturday, June 23, 11:40-12:55 (Vanderbilt Hall, NYU, Room 206) at the Association for the Study of Food and Society Conference, I will be presenting a paper on one of my recent research projects as part of a panel entitled “Alternative Food Systems: Methods, meanings, and movements.”


For some time now I have been calling for the inclusion of digestion in the realm of food studies and the anthropology of food, in particular. Why are North American’s so squeamish when it comes to discussing how we feel when we eat and drink? What can this aversion to discussing bodily functions tell us about American food culture and perceptions of the body? These are the kinds of questions I wanted to answer when I set out to study digestion in America through what I call gastrointestinal ethnographies. I hope that by sharing my methods and initial findings, I can encourage others to study neglected and taboo topics in food studies. I hope to show how ethnographic methods can offer an original avenue for exploration and theoretical production in food studies.