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Re-imagining Milk: Cultural and Biological Perspectives (Routledge Series for Creative Teaching and Learning in Anthropology) 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0415806572
ISBN-10: 0415806577
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Editorial Reviews


"It is the best general-interest introduction I've seen to the seldom-understood events that have urged milk-drinking as a nutritional duty on literally billions of people around the globe since the late 1890s."—Anne Mendelson, Gastronomica

"Andrea Wiley's highly readable analysis of milk is a biocultural approach to anthropology that illustrates insights gained from integrating cultural, political, economic, and biological perspectives. Readers will come away with an understanding of milk and its consumption that moves from the genetic to the societal level."—Craig Hadley, Anthropology, Emory University

"Andrea Wiley’s critical insights into a commodity that is central to U.S. identity, shapes food ideologies and consumption practices across the globe, and is built on the flawed bio-ethnocentric notion of milk as 'natures’ perfect food.' This interesting and accessible text is perfect for use in my courses on contemporary human variation and food politics!"—Deborah L. Crooks, Anthropology, University of Kentucky

"Professors of introductory cultural anthropology are always searching for ways to make anthropology stimulating and relevant for students....Routledge has embarked on a parallel series of short monographs ('Series for Creative Teaching and Learning in Anthropology') that takes a fresh approach, provocatively described as "The Anthropology of Stuff." These first two books provide promising beginnings to the series, affirming anthropology as the study of people and the everyday "stuff" that surrounds us. Wiley (Indiana Univ.) accomplishes the task admirably. Her biocultural approach surveys the physiology of cow's milk consumption by humans, the history of milk drinking in Europe and the US, and the globalization of milk promotion, in particular for childhood growth. Reminiscent of Sidney Mintz's pathbreaking contribution to food studies, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (CH, Oct'85), both monographs share an overall framework of anthropology that embeds historical and ethnographic details within critical perspectives. The results are illuminating and memorable."—C. R. Yano, University of Hawaii, Recommended title, CHOICE


"Re-imagining Milk joins a growing number of books that explore food consumption from social scientific perspectives, providing a sound introduction to a single (yet complex) commodity case study ideal for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. As interdisciplinary scholarly interests in ‘‘food studies’’ expand, Wiley’s book is a welcome contribution that explores how social, political, and economic forces interact with the biology of a commonly consumed food product."- Contemporary Sociology 2012 41: 394

About the Author

Andrea S. Wiley is Professor of Anthropology and Director of Human Biology at Indiana University, Bloomington. She has conducted long-term field research in India. Her previous works include An Ecology of High Altitude Infancy and Medical Anthropology: A Biocultural Perspective (with John Allen).


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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Series for Creative Teaching and Learning in Anthropology
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415806577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415806572
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen Boiko on September 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andrea Wiley's Re-imaging Milk delivers just what the title promises, but is more accessible and engaging than the scholarly sub-title. I found the whole book a good read, and will be using part of the cultural history in a writing class whose theme is food and culture. Wiley gets readers to see something as ubiquitous and therefore nearly invisible as milk as a product of technology and marketing as much as any natural qualities that milk contains. The book is an excellent introduction to the ways science and marketing compete for our beliefs and our dollars. And for those struggling with lactose intolerance, it provides a welcome dose of perspective.
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