Christine Hastorf focuses on social life, political change, agricultural production, foodways, and the methodologies that lead to a better understanding of the past through the study of plant-use. She has written on agricultural production, cooking practices and what shifts in these suggest about social relations, gender relations surrounding plant use, the rise of complex society, political change and the symbolic use of plants in the legitimation of authority, fuel use and related symbolism, and plant domestication as part of social identity construction and ritual and social identity. She is particularly interested in wild plant use and their management across a landscape in indigenous worlds, identifying the stages in plant processing, their participation in social construction, and especially their participation and reflection of the symbolic and the political, in addition to the playing out of the concept of culture in the natural world. She has completed a range of methodological investigations to improve our use of archaeobotanical remains in archaeological investigations. She has primarily completed research in the Andes of South America, but has also worked in Mexico, Turkey and Italy.
Food and agriculture, archaeology, social complexity, indigenous ontologies, gender and social relations, paleoethnobotany, ritual, Andean region.