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Food Anthropologist

Examine the role of food in different cultures throughout history.

What does a Food Anthropologist do?

Food anthropology is a subdiscipline of anthropology. While Anthropologists focus on the study of humans, past and present, Food Anthropologists specialize in the role that food plays in communities and society as a whole.

You might think that food is just food, but in reality, food is as much a part of society as money, politics, and taxes. The growing or gathering of food, its consumption, and our attitudes about it all reflect the state of the economy, social classes, and tradition. As a Food Anthropologist, you study food to give us a basis for this knowledge.

Thanks to you, we know how hunters and gatherers survived, what foods were commonly consumed in the Middle Ages, and how the discovery of spices changed world politics and exploration.

Your job as a Food Anthropologist might lead you into a teaching position where you educate the masses about the role of food in cultural celebrations. Or perhaps you work with Archaeologists to better understand preparation techniques for meals 4,000 years ago. Maybe you travel the world, comparing beliefs about food and how those ideas relate to predominant religious beliefs in the area.

In what ways were food used to establish equality? What effect did droughts and dropping global temperatures have on propagation techniques? How did animal roaming patterns affect the nomadic lifestyle? All of these questions and thousands more keep you looking for answers, making hypotheses, and educating others.