Staple Security


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Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration and Units  vii
Preface  ix
Acknowledgments  xvii
Introduction  1
1. Staple Becomings  39
2. Gold of the Land  81
3. Grain on the Move  113
4. Subsidized Bread (with Mariam Taher)  153
5. Homemade Bread  191
Conclusion  225
Notes  239
References  271
Index  289

About the Author

Jessica Barnes is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and the School of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of South Carolina. She is author of Cultivating the Nile: The Everyday Politics of Water in Egypt, also published by Duke University Press, and coeditor of Climate Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Climate Change.


"The book’s forte lies in the wider use of a range of sources, including ethnography, interviews with various actors in Egypt, participant observation, newspapers and archival materials. . . . Another strength is how the book draws connections with issues of staple security in countries in Africa but also from other continents. Barnes also provides extensive illustrations that are well linked to the content of each chapter. The concept of staple security is of value to anyone interested in the subject of food and politics as well as food histories."

"Barnes’s Staple Security is an important contribution to the existing literature that unravels the myriad relationships, histories, and politics coalescing around one commodity or staple, similar, for example, to studies of sugar, coffee, and rice. One could imagine scholars and students from agrifood studies, Middle East and North Africa studies, anthropology, and geography finding much value in this text."
*American Anthropologist*

"A timely contribution to critical food studies, bringing global attention to the vulnerabilities within grain supply chains and their impact on ordinary people’s lives. . . . The evocative writing, along with numerous images, maps, and wonderful full-page photographs between each chapter, transport the reader to the worlds of bread and wheat in Egypt."
*AAG Review of Books*

"Staple Security is a masterpiece of rich ethnographic detail and collaborative research about the cornerstone of the Egyptian diet: bread and wheat. . . . A major strength of this book is methodological: It provides a blueprint of how to study the human experience of a staple, from its cultivation to consumption."
*AAG Review of Books*

"A concise, focused, and illuminating book. Staple Security makes a valuable contribution to the existing literature on food security by exploring the ways in which people actually understand their own sense of security vis-à-vis food, and how they then go about achieving and safeguarding that security. For these reasons, it is necessary reading for all those concerned with issues of food production, policy, and procurement, not just in Egypt or the Middle East, but in the Global South more broadly."
*AAG Review of Books*

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