Seafood: Ocean to the Plate, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


Ocean to the Plate, 1st Edition

By Shingo Hamada, Richard Wilk


138 pages | 39 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138191877
pub: 2018-09-11
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Seafood draws on controversial themes in the interdisciplinary field of food studies, with case studies from different eras and geographic regions. Using familiar commodities, this accessible book will help students understand cutting-edge issues in sustainability and ask readers to think about the future of an industry that has lain waste to its own resources. Examining the practical aspects of fisheries and seafood leads the reader through discussions of the core elements of anthropological method and theory, and the book concludes with discussions of sustainable seafood and current efforts to save what is left of marine ecosystems. Students will be encouraged to think about their own seafood consumption through project assignments that challenge them to trace the commodity chains of the seafood on their own plates.

Seafood is an ideal book for courses on food and culture, economic anthropology, and the environment.

Table of Contents

Series Forward


Prologue: Why Study Seafood?

Chapter 1: Fish as Food: Healthy and Dangerous

Chapter 2: The Environmental History of the Sea and Seafood

Chapter 3: Tragedy or Treasury: Managing Fisheries

Chapter 4: Industrialization, Markets and Globalization

Chapter 5: Fish Transformers: the Rise of the Krabmeat

Chapter 6: Feeding Our Appetites and Tastes

Chapter 7: Seafood Ethics: Eating and Entertainment

Chapter 8: Eco-labeled Seafood: Social Justice or Cooptation?

Postscript: Preparing and Eating Seafood

Glossary of fish names

About the Authors


Shingo Hamada is Associate Professor of Food Studies at the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Osaka Shoin Women’s University. His research revolves around the environmental history and cultural politics of seafood in coastal Japan, with a special focus on fermented seafoods and commoners’ fish such as herring. He is the author of "The Future of Food Studies" in Food, Culture & Society, "Gone with the Herring: Ainu Geographic Names and a Multiethnic History of Coastal Hokkaido" in Canadian Journal of Native Studies.

Richard Wilk is Provost’s Professor of Anthropology and Co-director of the Food Studies program, Distinguihsed Professor, and Provost's Profesor Emeritus at Indiana University, and former president of the Society for Economic Anthropology. His publications include more than 160 papers and book chapters, and monographs including Home Cooking in the Global Village: Caribbean Food from Buccaneers to Ecotourists, which was the winner of the Society for Economic Anthropology Annual Book Prize 2008. He has collaborated with both domestic and international scholars for several edited volumes, such as Fast Food/Slow Food: The Cultural Economy of the Global Food System and Rice and Beans: A Unique Dish in a Hundred Places (co-edited with Livia Barbosa). He is also co-editing with Josiah Heyman the Globalization and the Environment book series from Altamira Press, and, with Frank Trentmann, the Consumption and Public Life series from Palgrave/Macmillan, and he has co-edited several textbooks and readers, including The Environment in Anthropology: A Reader in Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Living (co-edited with Nora Haenn), and The Anthropology of Media: A Reader (co-edited with Kelly Askew). His textbook co-written with Lisa Cliggett, Economies and Cultures, is in its second edition and has been translated into six languages.

About the Series

Routledge Series for Creative Teaching and Learning in Anthropology

Editors: Richard H. Robbins, SUNY at Plattsburgh and Luis A. Vivanco, University of Vermont 

This series is dedicated to innovative, unconventional ways to connect undergraduate students and their lived concerns about our social world to the power of social science ideas and evidence. We seek to publish titles that use anthropology to help students understand how they benefit from exposing their own lives and activities to the power of anthropological thought and analysis. Our goal is to help spark social science imaginations and, in doing so, open new avenues for meaningful thought and action.

Books proposed for this series should pose questions and problems that speak to the complexities and dynamism of modern life, connecting cutting edge research in exciting and relevant topical areas with creative pedagogy. We seek writing that is clear and accessible, yet not simplistic. The series has three primary projects:

The Anthropology of Stuff

This project invites proposals for 100 to 120 page books devoted to tracing the biographies and social lives of commodities that illuminate for students the network of people, institutions, and activities that create their material world. The series already has successful titles on milk, coffee, lycra, counterfeit goods, bicycles, Wal-Mart, and alcohol, as well as a forthcoming title on seafood. We seek books that:

  • Focus on specific problems or issues (e.g. social inequality, violence, gender discrimination, consumption, environmental degradation, urban mobility, etc.).
  • Use close description and analysis of everyday objects to stimulate students to think about their own culture and their place in it.
  • Make complex concepts (e.g. capitalism, the nature of hegemony, commodification, etc.) accessible to undergraduate readers.
  • Integrate a set of learning and teaching tools that could include the use of field research projects, group projects, media analysis, films, web-based research, and other relevant activities.

Anthropology and Civic Engagement

This project invites proposals for 100 to 120 page books that examine anthropology’s historical, contemporary, or potential involvement in civic affairs, contributions to key public debates, and/or engagement with diverse notions of citizenship and civic participation. Its goal is to illuminate for students how anthropological concepts, methods, and approaches can create powerful insights about critical social issues, while at the same time providing useful models for civic engagement for the construction of a more equitable society. We seek books that:

  • Focus on specific problems or issues (e.g., the health care debate, school violence, environmental activism, historic preservation, gender inequality, intellectual property, equity and social justice movements, food justice, rights of marginalized groups, etc.).
  • Help students understand how concepts such as citizenship, engagement, public participation, collaboration, activism, etc. are constructed and mobilized in specific political and social contexts.
  • Examine how anthropology’s concepts, methodological tools, and ethical principles relate to strategic and effective engagement with public concerns and dilemmas.
  • Integrate a set of learning and teaching tools that could include the use of field research projects, group projects, media analysis, films, web-based research, and other relevant activities.

High-Impact Anthropology

This project invites proposals for 150-350 page introductory texts that integrate high impact teaching and learning practices with treatment of specific topical areas that are the focus on undergraduate courses in anthropology. These specific topical areas could include Anthropology of Religion, Economic Anthropology, Political Anthropology, Anthropology of Food, Environmental Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality, etc. The texts should examine the development of the field and provide coverage of key concepts and theories. At the same time, they should integrate high-impact educational practices into the structure of the text and its features. These practices could include:

  • Problem-centered learning
  • Question-based learning
  • Collaborative learning
  • Community-based learning
  • Writing-intensive approaches
  • Experiential learning
  • Co-curricular learning
  • Field-based learning


If you have a proposal that you believe would fit into the series in one of its three project areas, or if you have any questions about the series, please contact Richard Robbins at [email protected], or Luis Vivanco at [email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General