In memoriam of Igor de Garine (1931-2018)

We are sad to announce the death of Igor de Garine on 27th June, 2018 at the age of eighty-seven.  

Igor was an emeritus Director of Research at CNRS (the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and of great significance to ICAF.   He was an early supporter of Mary Douglas who launched first the Committee on the Anthropology of Food and then the IUAES Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Food Problems in the mid 1970s with Professor Khare.  At this time, it began to be called the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food (ICAF).  Igor soon became central to the increasing activities of ICAF in Europe, just at the time that the activities on behalf of ICAF dwindled in USA and Australia.   In 1993 the IUAES Executive elected Igor as the ‘Commissioner’ of our Commission, and within our group the more francophone title given to him was President of ICAF.  He was President of ICAF from 1993 to 2011.

Igor dedicated his academic life to the study of food-related cultures, as exemplified by his pioneering article, Usages alimentaires dans la région de Khombole, Sénégale (1962)*, based on a study for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1960.  Much of his fieldwork concerned the Masa and the Muzey of the Cameroon, to whom he dedicated his doctoral thesis (published by Presses Universitaires de France in 1964).   His return there so often and his happy relations with the local people led him to refer to them as his African family.

He worked with the FAO for many years primarily in relation to Africa, and on leaving the FAO he became a researcher with CNRS in Paris, where he founded the UMR, Anthropologie et Écologie des Aliments.   From this base, many researchers were launched, and of great significance to many of us in ICAF today he has always been a strong supporter of cooperation between sociocultural and biological anthropologists, throwing significant light of the interaction between cultures and nutrition.   This multidisciplinary perspective became an example to others in the research projects he organised and in his own publications.    Today, this is fundamental in the aims of ICAF, as our topic-based conferences demonstrate with their cross-disciplinary papers.  We owe this to Igor but anthropologists should realise how unusual this cooperation still was in the latter half of the twentieth century.  While he was President, the emphasis of ICAF changed from the Anthropology of Food and Food Problems to the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, and thereafter the name of the IUAES Commission changed to reflect this.

Igor was so much more than his academic achievements.  His family was very important to him.  He was a convivial and generous man, who, with his wife Valerie, was central to the whole mood of our ICAF conferences in a very important way, that we hope we have continued.  People have regularly commented on the friendly atmosphere at our conferences, and it is true:  we do want to meet up and we make considerable efforts to travel to these conferences.  In honour of his 80th birthday, an ICAF conference was held in his village.   Contributors travelled from all over the world to attend and the wonderful mood between academics and the assisting villagers, who ran all the practicalities of the event, says more than we can here about the love so many people have for Igor and Valerie.

We, who followed Igor, say with certainty that we owe him so much for his instrumental role in making ICAF what it is today.

F. Xavier Medina and Helen Macbeth

Presidents of ICAF after Igor

*Garine, (1962) Usages alimentaires dans la region de Khombole, Sénégale, Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 10, 218-265.

For a collection of Igor’s work, see


A new ICAF book BIRDS AS FOOD: Anthropological and cross-disciplinary perspectives is now published online at:

This is ICAF's first book in a new series, entitled the 'ICAF Alimenta Populorum' series. The ISBN is 978-0-9500513-0-7.

It has been published in an electronic format for several reasons: it is easy to read on any computer, has over a hundred full-colour photos and is free to access and download.   It is in a simple pdf format, with a large enough font so that it is readable on a small tablet or smart phone. Take a look - we hope you enjoy it.


The 44th ICAF conference was held in Tossa de Mar, Catalonia, Spain, in May 2017. The topic was Food, Gastronomy and Tourism: Social and Cultural Perspectives. Papers were presented from scholars from several disciplines, as well as from practitioners working in the food and tourism sectors. Several common themes emerged from the  conference, with a lot of cross-fertilisation of ideas between participants. The beautiful setting of Tossa de Mar with wonderful Catalan cuisine ensured that it was a very enjoyable gathering for all concerned. Many thanks are due to the organisers.