NUT 120AN: Nutritional Anthropology

by Ruth Gustafson, Erik Davis Fausak – May 20, 2022

Think of this course guide as a library menu of resources and services to help you with NUT 120AN.   Like a menu, this course guide is there for you to refer to when you need it – some things you may already use or are your favorite resources; others are new things to explore.   Like a menu, you can pick and choose what you want to use – you don’t have to “consume” everything.   Instead of exploring food and drink on your library menu, you will be exploring the culture of the library:  its systems, terminology, and how to find/use key published resources for your topics.

Nutrition Topic Ideas and Search Terms

Good sources for finding recent research in all sciences, where you might find interesting topics, are the weekly magazines SCIENCE NEWS and NEW SCIENTIST. In addition, the premier journals SCIENCE and NATURE include the latest innovative research across the sciences.  Nutrition journals which publish articles on nutritional anthropology include Ecology of Food and Nutrition  and Journal of Nutrition Education  (now titled Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior) which are both indexed in the CAB Abstracts database.

With your assigned group topic, you will need to think of search terms to use for locating articles and other publications. Search the UC Davis Library online catalog (for books, documentaries and more) and use the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and also (for books owned at the medical libraries) the National Library of Medicine (NLM) terms. Each library subject database also has subject lists/thesauri that can help you precisely search your topic, e.g PubMed has MeSH, CAB Abstracts has CABICODES and the CAB Thesaurus and BIOSIS Previews has Concept Codes and more.


Ruth Gustafson

Student Services
Student Services and Researcher Services Librarian


In this Guide:

Does the author cite references to support her/his thesis? Are the references also from credible sources?
Who produced the information? What can you find about the author’s credentials?
Is the content presented as fact or speculation? What is the source’s purpose?
When was the source written/created? Is the information still relevant?

A useful method to evaluate websites — CRAAP test: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose

It is also a very good idea to employ a method of corroborating information from sites by using “lateral reading”, look to see what other sources say about your source, this is a method commonly used by fact checkers like Snopes.

Here are some more resources about verifying information online by lateral reading:
Rowan University Lib Guide

Purdue Lib Guide

Nutrition collections at UC Davis are split between the two separate health sciences libraries (clinical nutrition resources) and various areas of the Shields Library collection (food and anthropological areas). Important nutrition information may also be found as part of the Government Information collection of Shields Library, Lower Level.

  • Biological, Agricultural @ Environmental Sciences, Shields Library:  The BioAgEnvi Sciences print collections are located mainly on the 3rd floor of Shields Library.
  • Anthropology collections are located on the 2nd floor in the GN area of Shields Library.
  • Blaisdell Medical Library, Medical Education Building, UC Davis Medical Center
  • Carlson Health Sciences Library, Southwest UCD campus (Look for Carlson re-opening on August 2, 2021)
  • Government Information Collection, Shields Library  —  The UC Davis Library is a federal and state depository library with extensive historical and current collections in print, microform and electronic formats. The UCD Library collects extensively from major international, intergovernmental organizations, selectively from local jurisdictions, and on a very limited basis from foreign governments. Agriculture, forestry, the environment and ecology are areas of strength. The UCD Library collects comprehensively from the U.S. Congress and California Legislature, along with federal and state laws and regulations. The Library’s collection of technical report literature is extensive. We emphasize statistical data in all collecting areas. Most government documents and maps are listed in the UC Davis Library Catalog and the UC-wide MELVYL Catalog. Some materials, such as technical reports and historical documents, may require specialized indexes and assistance from reference librarians.


The UCD Libraries comprehensively buys materials on food culture and nutritional anthropology. Browsable Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) that bring up these types of publications include:

Food — Cross-cultural Studies OR   Food — Social Aspects 

Food Consumption — Cross-cultural Studies

Food Habits — Cross-cultural Studies  OR Food Habits — United States 

Food preferences — United States   <<  change out United States with another country name

Indians of North American — Food

Nutrition — Cross-cultural studies

Nutritional Anthropology

For information on your country, here are some useful LCSH tactics:  use Ethnology —  [your country name]  or   [your country name]  — Social Life and Customs

If there are no specific food books just for your country, consider the following:

* Look for a larger regional area that your country fits in, e.g. Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and use that combined with a very broad search for food, e.g. food* OR cook* OR cuisin* OR eating OR dining

* Change to a literature database and look for articles on your country and food.

BONUS HELP!! Public speaking not your thing?  The UCD Library selectively buys books on making presentations/public speaking for scientists.   Link out to this UCD Library Catalog search to see these online books that the library has access to.

  • UC Library Search: UCD Library Catalog setting
    Replacing UCD Library Catalog on July 27, 2021, the new UC Library Search includes all of the UC library collections.   This setting is specifically for the UC Davis libraries including (for the first time) the holdings of the Law Library. If you Sign in (on top right corner) using your UCD login and Kerberos passphrase, you are prompted with your loan period, can renew books online, and request items that have been checked out to another borrower, or are in storage.

NEED a PRINT ONLY ITEM AND CANNOT COME TO CAMPUS?  We’ll ship it to you!  The UCD Libraries have a COVID-time-only shipping service in place.   Just click on the INTERLIBRARY REQUEST link from the item you need and we’ll mail the whole item to you.  Make sure you have your correct address listed, when prompted.

ONLY NEED a chapter or an article from a PRINT ONLY ITEM?  Scanning service available for all UCD affiliates.  Use the same INTERLIBRARY REQUEST link but make a note of the specific chapter/article you need and include as much info as you can, especially page number, if available.

Due dates will become active with start of Fall Quarter.  “If you are in the [UCD] area and would like to return materials, you can deposit returns via the remote book drops or at Shields or Blaisdell Medical Library. Materials may also be mailed back at no cost to you. Contact for additional instructions and to receive a postage-paid mailing label.”

  • Understanding Call Numbers

    Author: Library Instruction Services, Shields Library

    Library of Congress Classification is used for all of the UCD libraries except the health sciences libraries (which use NLM — National Library of Medicine — classification). Learn about how books are arranged in the UCD libraries with this guide.

    Date: 2004

Handbook of Food and Anthropology – “ … detailed overview of all major areas of the field [with] 20 original essays by leading figures in the discipline examin[ing] traditional areas of research as well as cutting-edge areas of inquiry. Divided into three parts – Food, Self and Others; Food Security, Nutrition and Food Safety; Food as Craft, Industry and Ethics – the book covers topics such as identity, commensality, locality, migration, ethical consumption, artisanal foods, and children’s food. Each chapter features rich ethnography alongside wider analysis of the subject.Internationally renowned scholars offer insights into their core areas of specialty.  …” [Publishers description]


Multicultural Handbook of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics – “ … resource for dietitians, nutritionists and students working with both well settled but also recently migrated ethnic groups. Written by a team of authors drawn from the British Dietetic Association’s Specialist Multicultural Nutrition Group the book provides in-depth information to equip the reader in the provision of nutrition advice to minority groups. Spanning a broad range of cultural groups the book seeks to consider religious and cultural requirements in relation to traditional diets; research on migration studies and chronic disease states; and nutrition and dietetic treatment in relation to key chronic diseases.”  [Publishers description]


The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology – twelve-volume set of  “the field of anthropology and interrelated areas, providing an authoritative and expert overview of the concepts, research, and techniques that together define the discipline.  … features contributions from a team of over 800 international scholars making this a work of unparalleled depth and breadth of knowledge. Over 1,000 entries, ranging from concise summaries to longer writings, present the reader with in-depth discussions of hundreds of key topics, including: ecology, human evolution, gender, health, language and education, kinship, politics, and power, as well as biographical entries of many of the world’s most influential founding anthropologists …” [Publishers description]


Encyclopedia of Religions – comprehensive work covering all religions.

For encyclopedias on specific religions, see the Encyclopedias and Dictionaries section of the Religious Studies Subject guide.


The Statesman’s Yearbook Series : the Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World –  Published yearly since the 1860s for use by diplomatic personnel, this “classic reference work presents a political, economic and social account of every country of the world together with facts and analysis. Each revised edition includes: … updated biographical profiles of all current leaders.  Extensive updates to country economic overviews … Expanded and updated historical introductions … Chronology of key political events [respective to the year of coverage] …  Comprehensive coverage of major international organizations … [and a] summary of the key events that dominated the world during the year.  [Publishers description]

Books that are starred are newly licensed added online copies of print UCD books.  The rest are found in the UCD Library Catalog and have the catalog link provided:

*Heritage Cuisines: Traditions, Identities and Tourism

*Consuming Geographies of Food: Diet, Food Deserts, and Obesity

Everyone Eats: Understanding Food and Culture

Religion and Sustainable Agriculture: World Spiritual Traditions and Food Ethics

The Immigrant-Food Nexus:  Borders, Labor and Identity in North America

Subject Guides

There is a subject guide matching nearly every department at the UC Davis campus.  Find the Subject Guide which best matches your major!  This browsable list is organized by broad disciplinary categories:  Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Biological Sciences, Engineering & Transportation, General & Multidisciplinary Sources, Government Information, Health Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.