On the one hand, food and health traditions have become globalized. On the other hand, diet and health views differ widely around the world and are not alone determined by food availability, health care, technology and science. The cultural and philosophical views about nature and the human body are also important. What determines what we eat and how we stay healthy – natural science, culture, philosophy or religion? Is food just fuel for the body machine or is food also medicine and what are “functional foods”? How does food and health science relate to business, culture, philosophy and ethics? The answers vary in different parts of the world. New insights lead to better communication and enhanced collaboration across many borders.
This broadening PhD course aims to give the participants a better understanding of the scientific, cultural and philosophical background for specific diet habits and health views. We couple fieldwork (universities, hospitals, food markets, religious sites) with insights into the basics of natural, social and human sciences (the 3 main academic domains). Specifically, we compare some traditions of the Western world with those in China. This makes us aware of the potentials and limitations of modern science and its role in diet and health globalization. An open-minded, fruitful crosstalk across different academic fields shall support researchers from the food-health area to see their own topic from a greater methodological perspective.