The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Thomas Leatherman

Thomas Leatherman
Professor (Sabbatical FA22-SP23)
Research Interests: 
Critical Biocultural anthropology, political ecology, health and nutrition, medical and nutritional anthropology, human adaptability. Peru, Mexico

Tom Leatherman is a biocultural anthropologist whose research and theoretical interests are at the intersection of human biology and nutritional and medical anthropologies. Theoretical efforts to contribute to a more critical biosocial and biocultural anthropology, initiated in the edited volume Building a Biocultural Synthesis: Political Economic Perspectives in Biological Anthropology (1998-with Alan Goodman), have informed research on social change, inequalities, and health in Latin America and the U.S. Long term research in the southern Peruvian Andes focused on the co-constitutive nature of poverty, inequality and illness, and the links between structural violence and the political violence manifested in a 20-year civil war (1980-2000). Work in the Yucatan of Mexico has focused on the social, nutritional and health impacts of the rapid growth of tourism-based economies. A major theme is the commercialization of food systems, dietary change (especially the increased consumption of “junk foods”), and increased over-weight and obesity associated with the “coca-colonization” of diets in the Yucatan.