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Jon Holtzman

Jon Holtzman
Associate Professor

Office: (269) 387-3967

1002 Moore Hall

Mailing address
Department of Anthropology
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5306

Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1996

Research interests
Food, violence, history and memory, visual anthropology

Regional focus: East Africa, U.S., Japan

Jon Holtzman is a cultural anthropologist whose work centers on Samburu pastoralists in northern Kenya and Nuer (Sudanese) refugees in Minnesota. He has held grants from various sources, including the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies. His publications include two books, and articles in such journals as American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Annual Review of Anthropology, Current Anthropology, the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and Postcolonial Studies. His most recent book examines what Samburu perceive as an epochal shift in their basic diet-from a regimen of milk, meat, and blood to one of purchased agricultural products, arguing that Samburu experience this transformation as deeply ambivalent because the experience of food itself—symbolic, sensuous, social, and material—is intrinsically characterized by multiple and frequently conflicting layers. He is currently completely a multi-vocal ethnography of interethnic violence, interweaving Samburu narratives of war with those of the neighboring ethnic groups with whom they oscillate between peaceful coexistence and brutal violence, as well as working on ethnographic films to accompany this book. He is also in the early stages of developing a new research project on food and memory in Japan, focusing in particular on sweets.