Toggle Navigation

Open the Navigation Management window, which can be used to view the full current branch of the menu tree, and edit it.

CONNECT

University of Delaware

Image Picker for Section 0
Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

 

 

Peter Benson

Professor and Chair
University of Delaware
136 Munroe Hall
Newark, DE 19716
302-831-1851
 

Biography

Peter Benson is a cultural and medical anthropologist who teaches courses on global health, capitalism, culture and social problems, and theory and method in anthropology.

He received a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard University in 2007. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University. He was then a faculty member for over a decade in the anthropology department at Washington University in St. Louis before coming to the University of Delaware.

Main Research Interests

Benson's new book, Stuck Moving: Or, How I Learned to Love (and Lament) Anthropology (2023), has been published as part of the “Atelier" series at University of California Press. It is a literary and conceptual experiment that does anthropology differently—in all the wrong ways. No field trips. No other cultures. The journey is a personal, autobiographical one within anthropology itself. A critical, candid, hilarious take on the culture of academia and, ultimately, contemporary society. It is also a kind of love story. 

Benson's previous work looked extensively at corporate capitalism and commodity chains, especially how corporations shape health conditions—from consumer and behavioral health to environmental health and labor issues. Benson has examined these phenomena in the context of the global tobacco industry, focusing particularly on “corporate social responsibility" strategies in harmful and hazardous global industries and the everyday implications for different groups in agrarian regions. Benson has been a leading scholar in the study of tobacco and nicotine as a multi-sided policy (and not simply behavioral health) issue, advocating for a shift away from a focus on the smoker as an informed consumer or patient to more critical and nuanced thinking about industrial agriculture and corporate power as profound forms of structural violence, environmental harm, and labor exploitation. This work resulted in the book, Tobacco Capitalism: Growers, Migrant Workers, and the Changing Face of a Global Industry, published by Princeton University Press in 2012. The book was awarded the 2013 Delmos Jones and Jagna Sharff Memorial Prize for the Critical Study of North America from the Society for the Anthropology of North America. It also won the annual book prize from the Southern Anthropological Society and was a book award finalist from several other academic organizations.

Benson's earliest work examined changes in agrarian livelihoods, social dynamics, and forms of citizenship among Kaqchikel Mayas in highland Guatemala. This culminated in the book, co-authored with Edward F. Fischer, Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatemala, published in 2006 by Stanford University Press. This book is an example of the commodity chain literature that demonstrates how following the “social life of things"—in this case, fresh vegetables—across geographical locations and cultural worlds reveals crucial differences and inequities of power and experience. Tracking the global broccoli trade from small farms in highland Guatemala to the produce sections of U.S. supermarkets, the book connects affluent consumers in the global north concerned about issues of health, nutrition, organic foods, and fair trade with Maya farmers desiring and struggling for something better in the wake of a decades-long armed conflict. Broccoli is a starting point for a broader analysis of the social production of power and desire at multiple levels and in contexts of shifting frameworks of international trade and the vastly uneven worlds that consumers and producers inhabit.


Select Publications

2020 Tobacco Reconsidered: Ongoing Omissions, Original Outlooks in the Slipstreams of Experience, Global Health, and Critical Industry Studies. Annual Review of Anthropology 49: A1-A5 (with Matthew Kohrman).

2019 Natural Beauty. Journal for the Anthropology of North America 22(2): 90-92.

2018 Tobacco Capitalism, an Afterword: Open Letters and Open Wounds in Anthropology. Journal for the Anthropology of North America 21(1): 21-34.

2017 Big Football: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Culture and Color of Injury in America's Most Popular Spectator Sport. Journal of Sport & Social Issues 41(4): 307-334.

2014 Corporate Paternalism and the Problem of Harmful Products. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 37(2): 218-230.

2014 Year in Review, Public Anthropology, 2013: Webs of Meaning, Critical Interventions. American Anthropologist 116(2): 379-389.

2011 Tobacco. Annual Review of Anthropology 40: 329-344 (with Matthew Kohrman).

2010 Tobacco Talk: Reflections on Corporate Power and the Legal Framing of Consumption. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 24(4): 500-521.

2010 Capitalism and the Politics of Resignation. Current Anthropology 51(4): 459-486 (with Stuart Kirsch).

2008 Good Clean Tobacco: Philip Morris, Biocapitalism, and the Social Course of Stigma in North Carolina. American Ethnologist 35(3): 357-379.

2008 El Campo: Faciality and Structural Violence in Farm Labor Camps. Cultural Anthropology 23(4): 589-629.

2008 Resocializing Suffering: Neoliberalism, Accusation, and the Sociopolitical Context of Guatemala's New Violence. Latin American Perspectives 35(5): 38-58.

2006 Anthropology in the Clinic: The Cultural Competency Problems and How to Fix It. Plos Medicine 3(10): e294.

2005 Rooting Culture: Nostalgia, Urban Revitalization, and the Ambivalence of Community at the Ballpark. City & Society 17(1): 93-125. 

2004 Nothing to See Hear. Anthropological Quarterly 77(3): 435-467.​






Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
Bio2
No
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
University of Delaware