Home - Scientific Commissions - Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

Commission on:
the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition


Helen Macbeth, D.Phil. (Oxon)
Honorary Research Fellow (and retired Principal Lecturer)
Anthropology Department
Oxford Brookes University.
E-mail: hmacbeth[at]brookes.ac.uk

Deputy Chair:

Xavier Medina
[email protected]


Frederic Duhart
36, Avenue Julian Grimau,
40220 Tarnes, France
Telephone No.:
E-mail: frederic.duhart[at]orange.fr


Paul Collinson

* http://www.icafood.eu (website in the process of renovation)


Igor de Garine

Most of the activities have taken place in Europe and Mexico.

The European section of the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food continues to be very active. The long-planned structure of members associating formally by nation is at last functioning. There are now formal committees or representatives in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway (for all Scandinavia), Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom. These liaise with ICAF (Europe), Chair: H.Macbeth (U.K.), Secretary: R.Kutalek (Austria) and Treasurer: M.Demoissier (France and U.K.). Constant efforts to make links and set up groups in other European countries. Several non-European countries without an active Continental association also have informal links with ICAF(Europe). In all cases communication is greatly facilitated by electronic mail.

- Training and research are taking place in the University of Bordeaux.

- Participation of "The Marmite" group, ICAF France, in the international congress on "Ageing", Genoa, mars 2001.

- Monthly seminars are held in the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris.

- The French ICAF team has created a Web journal. Two issues are out and a third in preparation. The ICAF website access is through www.icafood.org.

- The book out of the XV° symposium of ICAF held in Bordeaux in May 2000 on "Meat" (20 chapters) has been accepted by Berghahn Publications and is being edited by A. Hubert and I. de Garine.

- The book on "Drinking, Anthropological Approaches", (eds I. and V. de Garine) (21 chapters) published by Berghahn Books, New York, Oxford, 2001, is now available.

- The meeting of the MegaTchad scientific network which will take place in November 2002 in Paris (University of Nanterre) is centred on the Anthropology of Food.

- The XIX° symposium of ICAF to be held in the framework of the XV° ICAES in Florence in July 2003 is to be centred on "Anthropology, Nutrition and Wildlife Conservation" and organised by I. de Garine.

- Contacts have been made with the Scandinavian countries in order to develop national ICAF committees in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark through CIFO, the agency organising the promotion of local food products in Europe.

- The University of Aix Marseille is considering organising in 2004 a meeting on Food and Nutrition in Mountain Areas (org. G. Boetsch).

- The XVI° ICAF conference on "Fluid Bread : Images and Usages of Beer in Cross-Cultural Perspectives" was organised by the German committee in May 2001 in the Max Planck Institut, Seewiesen (org. Wulf Schiefenhoevel) (40 papers). A book is in preparation and should be available in 2002.

- Contacts have been made by this group to develop national committees in Indonesia.

- Training and research activities are carried out in the Universities of Sevilla, Barcelona and Saragossa.

- The Spanish ICAF national committee has published an issue on the Anthropology of Food in the Revista d'Etnologia de Catalunya, n° 17, novembre 2000 : "Transculturacio, Consum i Alimentacio".

- The Spanish group (EIMAH - Equipo Multidisciplinar en Alimentacion Humana, Universidad de Zaragoza) organised in Borja, November 2001 the XVII° ICAF symposium on "Alimentacion y Arbitrario Cultural" in honour of I. de Garine (50 papers). A book from the proceedings is to be published in 2002 (eds A. Millan, X. Medina, L. Cantarero).

- A meeting on Methodology and Pluridisciplinary Approaches in the Veterinarian and Medical Field is forecast for 2003, organised by Amado Millan.

- The Spanish group in Seville under the leadership of Isabel Gonzalez Turmo (vice chair for Europe) has completed a study on comparing cooking in Andalucia and in Morocco.

- The same team has made contacts to develop ICAF committees in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

- The Austrian national committee will organise a meeting on Hunting Food, Drinking Wine, in Poysdorf, November 2003, org. Armin Prinz.

- The autumn issue of the Viennese ethnomedicine journal, Ven, will be centred on obesity.

- The contacts made by this group to create an ICAF committee in Israel have not succeeded yet, for obvious reasons.

UK :
The UK national committee has been very active this year (website).

- Several meetings on the administrative and documentation aspects of ICAF have taken place in Oxford (Brookes University and Bordeaux II University).

- The ICAF website, enlarged and enriched, has been transferred from Bordeaux to Brookes University, Oxford.

- A meeting on Methodology took place in Kirtlington,

- In the series on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition edited by H. Macbeth, following Food for Health, Food for Wealth - Ethnic and gender identies in British Iranian communities, (ed. L. Harbottle), a manual on Research methods in the Anthropology of Food - Cross-Disciplinary Approaches (ed. H. Macbeth and J. Mac Clancy) should be out in 2002.

- A manual on Sociocultural Clues on Food for Nutritional and Biological Scientists is foreseen for 2004.

- Training in the anthropology of food is taking place in the University of Roma (La Sapienza) and in the University of Cosenza.

- The Italian national committee held the XVIII° ICAF symposium on Water : Le Culture dell'Acqua - Materi e Simboli, in Crotone, Calabria (orgs. Vito Teti, Sergio Iritale) (30 papers). A book from the proceedings will be published in 2002.

- A meeting in the same place, on Bread, is planned for 2003.

- ICAF Italy (M. Cresta) is organising, with the collaboration of the ICAF committees of France, Spain and Portugal and the assistance of FAO, Unesco and EEC, the Euro-Mediterranean Forum : Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger – Dialogues among Mediterranean Civilisations. An international initiative in education and training on food security in Lamezia, Calabria, November 2002.

The Grupo Mexicano de Antropología Alimentaria (GMAA) was established in June 2000, co-ordinated by Paris Aguilar-Pińa. It has the support of the Coordinación de Antropología of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia and Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. It holds meetings once a month.

Its main purposes are to :
a) establish the general background and guidelines in order to prepare an exhibit of Food and culture in Mexico.

b) promote the diffusion of research on Anthropology of Food being carried out in Mexico through sessions devoted to the presentation of research in progress. A special issue of the journal Cuiculco is being prepared by Paris Aguilar and Frédéric Duhart (of ICAF in Europe). The group presented a round table on the Anthropology of Food in the Jornadas de Etnohistoria of the Mexican School of Anthropology in September 2000.

c) carry out projects that promote the knowledge and appreciation by the general public of the field of Anthropology of Food and of the rich cultural heritage that Mexico has in its food and beverages

d) support the publication of research results in the field of Anthropology of Food and related areas and the preparation of a data base with the published results of research in Mexico and the territories of former Mesoamerica and Aridamerica.

The Mexican group has been successful in promoting the interest of the general public in the field of anthropology of food. Among its activities:

1. Two Taste workshops have been held in Universum, the Science Museum of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

2. Two Diplomados have been organised [courses open to a general public with the academic support of the University through its Programa Universitario de Alimentos, and private institutions (Slow Food and Cultura Culinaria A.C.), in which a diploma is offered to those who achieve the prerequisites.

The regional ICAF commissioner for Latin American (L-A. Vargas) has taken steps to establish national committees in various countries of Latin America ; they should materialise in the near future.

The Mexican national committee was able to send two of its members to the Borja meeting in Spain. Following the meeting in Borja, two national Mexican committees are being organised.

- There are prospects of organising an international meeting in the University of Guadalajara in 2004. The topic is being discussed (org. Ricardo Avila).

A meeting on Maize, to be organised in Lima by the University St Martin de Porres, Lima, is planned for 2003 (org. H. Urbano). A national ICAF committee is being created.

The Brazilian Association of Anthropologists is organising a national committee. They held the XXIII° symposium on Food and Symbolism, and are planning to participate in the Forum Social Mondial in January in Porto Alegre.

The revue Horizontes Antropologicos is planning to publish shortly an article on ICAF.

There are good prospects of creating an Argentinian national committee, org. Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales de la Universidad Nacional del General San Martin - when the economic situation improves.

The regional commissionner for Oceania (Nancy Pollock) is planning to organise a session on Healthy Foods in the Tokyo Intercongress, September 2002, and to create national committees in various countries.

Her paper out of the 11th Symposium of Australian Gastronomy held in Wellington 2001 is out, and the one from the meeting on Vegeculture in the Pacific and Sout-Easta Asia (Osaka 2000) will be published shortly.

ICAF has had a satisfying year between 2001 and 2002 :

- Ten new ICAF national committees have been created or are in the process of being organised.

- Training in the Anthropology of Food has developed in Austria, France, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain.

- Four international meetings have been organised, three are in preparation.

- Three books have been published, three more have been accepted for publication and should be out shortly.

Contacts have been maintained with the Food Choice network (D. Booth) and the journal Appetite.

We are planning to expand our activities to other countries of the world. I will take the opportunity of a field trip to Africa this autumn to try to create a national committee in Cameroon, and – if funds are available – in India.

Igor de Garine

Occasional Newsletters
Website: www.icafood.org


Publications by Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (ICAF):
Respuestas Alimentarias a la Crisis Económica, (Turmo, I. Gonzalez, ed., Colecció eBOOKS ICAF, created in Andalucia, Spain, 2014)

Food in Zones of Conflict: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives (Collinson, P. S. and H. Macbeth, eds, Berghahn, 2014)