An ideology of African ignorance that justified white supremacy grew up in South Africa during the first half of the twentieth century: if Africans were hungry, it was because they didn't know how to feed themselves properly; they were ignorant of "how to live." As a result, growing scientistic impatience with African culture reconciled many white South Africans to the harsh policies of apartheid.

In Starving on a Full Stomach: Hunger and the Triumph of Cultural Racism in Modern South Africa, Diana Wylie tells the story of the foods Africans ate and the maladies they suffered, while she shows the ways in which doctors and politicians understood and acted upon those experiences in modern African life.

Wylie compares South Africa's food history with that of medieval Europe and modern America, and concludes by presenting some surprising similarities. Starving on a Full Stomach provides both a warning and a provocative framework that forces us to look at the continuing potential for misunderstanding and mismanagement of today's medical and food crises.

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