Back to People Listing

Harris Solomon

Assistant Professor, Cultural Anthropology and Global Health

205 Friedl Building, Box 90091 | Durham, NC 27708
(919) 684-5012

Visit Website Download CV

Harris Solomon


I am interested in connections between the body, its environments, and longevity in India, specifically in the context of chronic illness in Mumbai. As India becomes increasingly portrayed as the site of an "epidemiological transition" -- a shift from infectious to chronic disease burdens said to accompany economic development -- my research questions the embodied politics of accumulation.

I am currently working on a book project that examines the relationships forged between food, fat, the body, and the city in light of India's rising rates of obesity and diabetes. This project draws on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Mumbai's home kitchens, metabolic disorder clinics, and food companies, to better understand what have been termed India's "diseases of prosperity."

My earlier projects have examined the development of corporatized medical care in Indian cities and its manifestation as "medical tourism," and the politics of language in India's HIV treatment clinical trials.

I situate both my research and teaching at the interdisciplinary intersections of medical anthropology, South Asian studies, science and technology studies, global health, and food studies. Prior to anthropology, I studied linguistics and global public health, and worked on reproductive health and HIV policy.



Title Number Level Semester Requirements Fulfilled
Medical Anthropology GLHLTH 321
Was: GLHLTH 191
UG Only FALL 2016 MAJOR: Focused Study
MINOR: Elective
MAJOR: Foundations - Humanities
Food and the Body

This course is a seminar-based investigation into the social, cultural, and political connections between food and the body. Students will approach these connections from two perspectives: The relationship between food and culture, and how the body is key to that relationship. Readings are drawn primarily from cultural anthropology, and use cross-cultural examples to illustrate these perspectives. Specific course themes include: Food and cultural identity; nationalism and eating; social class and taste; global food production; gender and eating disorders; the politics of organic and local foods; and the rise of obesity. Students will lead weekly discussion of readings, and will complete a final research paper.

Course Notes:
UG Only FALL 2016 GHC: Elective
MAJOR: Focused Study
MINOR: Elective


Recent Publications

Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India View

Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India. Durham: Duke University Press. In book series "Critical Global Health: Evidence, Efficacy, Ethnography" (Eds. Vincanne Adams, João Biehl).

"Unreliable Eating: Patterns of Food Adulteration in Urban India." BioSocieties 10: 177-193.

"The Taste No Chef Can Give: Processing Street Food in Mumbai." Cultural Anthropology 30(1): 65-90.

"Short Cuts: Metabolic Surgery and Gut Attachments in India." Social Text 120 (Fall 2014).

"Taste Tests: Pizza and the Gastropolitical Laboratory in Mumbai." Ethnos 79(1): 19-40.

Review of Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism by Julie Guthman. Global Public Health 7(8): 911-913.