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Sidenote: Anthropology and Food

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

I always loved to eat and I think that it is only natural that I also developed an interest in the anthropology of food – although I never managed to really get into it as much as I wanted to, there were other topics that I worked on.

Here are two interesting links I just came about and share them here, also as a kind of note for myself. Should consider to read more on this!

1. Using Video to share research on food insecuriy

This is of interest to me because there is a very long discussion on why anthropologists, social/cultural ones especially, are so rarely contributing to the public discourse, even though they have so much to say.

The newly established FoodAnthropology blog has this interesting post on how research can be shared through social media such as youtube.

In addition, I have found blogs to be a great opportunity for anthropologist to share their thoughts and expertise – even though it would be worthwile to analyze who is actually reading the blogs – is it again mainly anthropologists or does the internet/blogosphere also introduce more non-anthropologist readers, too?

Anther enlighting article is this one from Savage Minds, asking Why is there no Anthropology Journalism.

2. The meaning of cooking in human evolution

Anthropologyworks made me aware of  an article introducing biologist anthropologist Richard Wrangham’s book “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” in which he describes how cooking (rather than meat eating) was the decisive action in human evolution as those of our ancestors who invented the cooking were provided with more energy than those survining on a diet of raw food.

Interesting thesis that also accounts for the role distinction between men and women, the article mentions that women as those who cooked became subservient to men. What the article does not mention is why women supposedly became the cookers (probably because they had to stay home to care for their kids anyway) so this needs to be found out by reading the book.

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A kind of crisis

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I begin writing this blog with this first post, reflecting on why I actually began it. I am a social anthropologist, whose main interests were in health, HIV/AIDS, NGOs, development and feminist anthropology. After doing fieldwork with a Tanzanian NGO for my MA thesis, I took up work as a development worker with the German development cooperation in Tanzania, where I worked in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention.

Back in Germany, I joined an international NGO, now working as a desk officer but increasingly noticing that this is not what I want to go on with. It took me quite a while to figure this out, and finally, by mid/end 2009 I began serioulsly thinking of embarking on a PhD project, something that I always had been interested to do “later” – firstly, after graduation with my MA, I felt the urge to experience first hand what development work is all about. Because I am still working full time, it is not so easy to again to back to the libary, this is also why I experienced the anthro-blogosphere highly enriching as it is a great way to explore current trends and discussions.

So now, I am kind of thinking of a variety of topics for my PhD thesis, actually already completed a proposal about the current political development of Rwanda for a certain grad school. I was shortlisted, but then rejected – which, after firstly being greatly disappointed, probably just meant that I simply picked a second-best idea.

Because I am already blogging in my native German, I found blogging a great way of presenting one’s thoughts in a brief and concise way, inviting others to give feedback. By writing brief contributions on certain issues will also help me to sort out my many thoughts and maybe post some things that I cannot place elsewhere.

My main interests are development, the relationship between development and “culture” in particular, but also things like representation (how are “they” depicted – one reason why I keep feeling more and more uncomfortable working for the NGO I am working for), power-relations as influenced by development and fairly recently my interest in feminist thinking experienced a resurrection, also due to my exploration of some very good feminist blogs.