Studies of Food & the Body

The Studies of Food and the Body Multi-Campus Research Program brings together humanities and social sciences faculty and graduate student scholars from across the UC campuses to explore relationships between food, the body, and culture.

Who we are

Participants include historians, American Studies scholars, literary scholars, performance artists, cultural geographers, anthropologists, and sociologists. Their individual projects address a variety of questions, cultures, and historical moments. Current projects include a visual documentary of the role of immigrant labor in the U.S. food economy, an assessment of the importance of gardening in contemporary Russia, an inquiry into whether there is an actual “obesity epidemic” in the U.S., an analysis of Chinese-American cookbook writers, and an exploration of common threads across a century of “nutrition reform movements” in the United States.

What we do

This collaborative research group has been created to strengthen the work of individual members through works in progress colloquia, to draw attention to the critical work of food scholars at the University of California across its campuses, to provide focused mentoring to graduate students in food studies, and to open a dialogue on food and body concerns between humanities and science scholars and the public at our annual public event.


Founded in Fall 2008, the Studies of Food and the Body Multi-Campus Research Program was hosted at the Davis Humanities Institute at UC Davis until Summer 2011, when it moved to UC Santa Cruz’s Institute for Humanities Research. The MRP has hosted highly successful public events, offered critical mentoring to graduate students, and provided rich intellectual nurturing for numerous award-winning scholarly projects. The Studies of Food and the Body MRP is currently funded through Summer 2012, and we hope that we will be able to continue our programming after Summer 2012 with additional funding.

Learn More!

Please explore our website to learn more about the MRP’s participants, activities, accomplishments, and application process to join the group.