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Allison Hopkins

Dr. Allison Hopkins
Food, Nutrition, and Culture Bridging Theme Committee Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Assistant Professor
  • (979) 862-9179
  • Anthropology 309H
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PhD, University of Florida, 2009
Cultural Anthropology


Health and wellbeing, food security and sovereignty, global human rights, ethnobotany, globalization, social networks, knowledge transmission, mixed-methods, Latin America and Latinos in U.S.

Current Research Projects:

I’m a medical and ecological anthropologist specializing in interdisciplinary research on the connections between globalization and/or social relationships and human health. Specifically, I focuses on understanding the knowledge people have about local resources, how that knowledge relates to their behavior, what factors are associated with variation in their knowledge and behavior, and ultimately how that relates to health. I have and continue to research these issues in varying contexts, with different populations, types of knowledge and factors at play. The theoretical and methodological approaches I use in my research are varied and depend on the research question and the strengths of the research team. Additionally, I take concerted efforts to apply my research to areas of global human rights and food and medical security and sovereignty.

Most recently I started a project to examine the conditions under which different models of social change, including the educational model of social change, are effective at reducing poverty and increasing wellbeing and food sovereignty in the Yucatan. Mexico. I’m also currently collaborating with colleagues on a study designed to capture the composition and changes in the social networks of recently quit smokers in the United States, how their networks relate to their ability to stay quit, and how information on smoking cessation spreads through their networks.

I welcome inquiry from potential graduate students interested in research topics that intersect well with my own. I also have opportunities for undergraduate students to carry out research internships with me. Through the internship students gain hands on experience with various aspects of the research process, including grant and manuscript writing, data collection instrument development, and data collection and data analysis. In the Spring of 2019 I established the Planetary Health Laboratory, a space where my research team can carry out research that recognizes the interconnections between the health of people and their environment at all scales, and its relationship to global human rights.

Courses Taught:

ANTH 205 – Peoples and Cultures of the World
ANTH 210 – Social and Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 426 – Anthropology of Food and Nutrition
ANTH 430 – Applied Anthropology
ANTH 435 – Medical Anthropology
ANTH 437 – Ethnobotany

Current Graduate Students:

Michelle Yeoman
Hyein Kim
Viviane Clement
Casandra Owens

Selected and Recent Publications:

Gibbes, C., Hopkins, A., Inurreta, A. and J. Jimenez Osornio. (2020) Defining and measuring sustainability: A systematic review of studies in rural Latin America and the Caribbean. Environment, Development and Sustainability 22:447-468.

Hopkins, A.L., Yeoman, M. and C. Ritenbaugh. (2018) Healthy foods prepared at home: Diet and support as protective strategies during pregnancy for Hispanic women. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 57(2):140-161.

Hopkins, A.L., Stepp, J.R. McCarty, C. and J.S. Gordon. (2015) Herbal remedy knowledge acquisition and dissemination among the Yucatec Maya in Tabi, Mexico: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 11:33.
Hopkins, A. and J.R. Stepp. (2012) Distribution of herbal remedy knowledge in Tabi, Yucatan, Mexico. Economic Botany 66(3):249-254.

Hopkins, A., Gibbes, C., Inurreta Diaz, A. and R. Rojas. (2012) Linking remote sensing, census, and interview data to understand forest transitions in the southern cone of the state of Yucatan, Mexico. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 10:1-13.

Hopkins, A. (2011) Use of network centrality measures to explain individual levels of herbal remedy cultural competence among the Yucatec Maya in Tabi, Mexico. Field Methods 23(3):307-328.