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Traveling with Sugar: Chronicles of a Global Epidemic

Traveling with Sugar: Chronicles of a Global Epidemic

Current price: $34.95
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2019
University of California Press
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Traveling with Sugar reframes the rising diabetes epidemic as part of a five-hundred-year-old global history of sweetness and power. Amid eerie injuries, changing bodies, amputated limbs, and untimely deaths, many people across the Caribbean and Central America simply call the affliction “sugar”—or, as some say in Belize, “traveling with sugar.” A decade in the making, this book unfolds as a series of crónicas—a word meaning both slow-moving story and slow-moving disease. It profiles the careful work of those “still fighting it” as they grapple with unequal material infrastructures and unsettling dilemmas. Facing a new incarnation of blood sugar, these individuals speak back to science and policy misrecognitions that have prematurely cast their lost limbs and deaths as normal. Their families’ arts of maintenance and repair illuminate ongoing struggles to survive and remake larger systems of food, land, technology, and medicine.

About the Author

Amy Moran-Thomas is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Praise for Traveling with Sugar: Chronicles of a Global Epidemic

"This well-researched ethnography is an excellent addition to existing scholarship in that it offers fresh perspectives on the global history of sweetness and power and the ways in which this relationship continues to shape human health."

"The reckoning of the living and dead, history and future, limb and loss through a mirror of the planet—its health, sickness, destruction—tells a powerful story . . . not only [of] human bodies but also plants, seeds, food systems, synthetic and herbal medicines, weather, and lands."
— American Anthropologist

"Traveling with Sugar is an accomplished work that lives up to its premise: telling a global story through an intimate portrayal of people’s slow and constant care."
— Anthropology Book Forum

"Thoughtfully organized and powerfully written, this poetic piece humanizes both those who need care and those trying to provide that care. Traveling with Sugar can and should be taught in both undergraduate and graduate courses in medical anthropology, sociology, global health, and health disparity courses."
— New Florida Journal of Anthropology

"A luminous ethnography . . . resists tragedy by attending to people’s capacity for 'extraordinary survival' and mutual aid . . . [and] asks us to grapple with profound transdisciplinary questions about how the past lives in the present."
— Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"A masterclass in accompaniment . . . refreshes our understanding of etiologies of diabetes in profoundly urgent ways. . . . Each chapter is a rich and original contribution on its own, and together the book is a discipline-altering tour-de-force."
— Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

"A remarkable work. . . . A story of the long-term impact of the European empires and commercial expansions. . . that developed the sugar plantation economy of Central America and the Caribbean."
— American Journal of Human Biology

"The trouble [this book] highlights is not a lack of knowledge, but the cruelty of a profit-driven system that allows, even encourages, living, breathing, loving, always-human people to be treated as disposable."
— Medical Anthropology Quarterly