Anthropology 460/560: Nutritional Anthropology.


Geraldine measuring girl

This class, Nutritional Anthropology, was developed to provide us with a forum for examining the relationship between human dietary patterns and human biology. Food is the “stuff” of life. We eat food for social and cultural reasons. And, we eat food because food contains nutrients, which fuel our cells and allow us to function — grow, think, reproduce, work, resist disease and live. Too much, too little or an improper mix of nutrients can lead to health and biological problems. Therefore, the quest for food has been a major force in evolution and continues to have a profound effect on ecological systems, societies, human biology and human behavior. In this class we will focus our discussions on three main issues: 1) how the human diet has evolved and changed over time; 2) how food and dietary patterns are related to human growth and development and 3) how hunger and satiety are perceived in the social and biological body. These three issues are interrelated and build on each other, consequently we will return to and reexamine the material throughout the quarter. This class centers on a modified Problem Based Learning format. The concept of “Problem Based Learning” is defined differently by each individual, however the general idea is that students use inquiry and self-discovery, based on real data, to form hypothesis as opposed to learning via lecture-fact memorization In this class we will use brainstorming, discussion, hands-on exercises, group reports, and other in-class activities to foster understanding among all learners.