Department of Anthropology Colloquium Series


Anthropology Colloquium 2019-2020


“Next to breathing, eating is perhaps the most essential of all human activities, and one with which much of social life is entwined,” (Mintz & Du Bois, 2002). Food surrounds us, simultaneously representing a universal, human necessity and a key medium through which individual and cultural variation is expressed. From an evolutionary standpoint, food sharing and the practice of group provisioning may represent a large part of how humans came to be. Likewise, modifications of food production systems represent some of the most critical moments across our history. Consumption has been, is, and likely always will be a foundational component of society and culture. Anthropologists have examined global political economy through the study of sugar, milk, sushi, and countless other examples. What is more, with the looming threat of climate change and our deeply interdependent global food system, the study of food and food production is more pressing than ever.


The 2019-2020 speaker series is intended to encourage inter-subfield conversation that examines the production, distribution, and consumption of food across time and space, asking how food creates meaning and is deployed as a symbol within and between communities.We take a generous view of food and seek to explore those substances that sustain human culture, health, and life through nourishment, medicine, memory, ritual, identity, and more. We invite speakers to join the Penn Anthropology community in exploring, thinking, and practicing four-field anthropology through the study of food writ large. 



Fall Schedule 

Talks take place from 12:00 to 1:30 in Room 345 of the Penn Museum. Lunch will be served.


9/23 - Lynn Meskell (Stanford University) *This talk takes place in Classroom 2 of the Penn Museum*

9/30 - Helena Hansen (New York University)

10/14 - Paul Rozin (University of Pennsylvania)

10/21 - Julie Lesnik (Wayne State University)

10/28 - Taylor Livingston (University of Nebraska Lincoln)

11/4 - Amanda Logan (Northwestern University)

11/11 - Harris Solomon (Duke University)

11/18 - Paul Kockelman (Yale University)

11/25 - Gayle Fritz (Washington University)

12/2 - Ashanté Reese (University of Maryland Baltimore)

12/9 - Student Presentations