Workshop on Feeding Cities: Ethical and Policy Issues in Urban Food Systems

Call for Abstracts!

Workshop on Feeding Cities: Ethical and Policy Issues in Urban Food Systems

Northeastern University, Boston, MA

March 27-28, 2015

Food defines cultures, is at the heart of religious and ethnic traditions, is central to familial and social gatherings, gives us joy (and sometimes pain), and shapes the rhythms of daily life. Of course, food is also about survival. Societies thrive – or collapse – based on ready, reliable, and equitable access to food. There is currently rising demand for food due to population growth and spreading affluence, as well as increasing production and distribution challenges, such as water and land scarcity, climate change, depletion in seafood stocks, and dependency on global food chains. All of this takes place amidst accelerating urbanization; over half the world’s population now lives in cities. Together these trends make studying urban food systems – and developing practices and policies for improving them – crucial to building socially just and ecologically sustainable societies.

This workshop aims to foster cross-disciplinary inquiry on topics relevant to urban food system sustainability, health, and equity. We invite abstracts of no more than 750 words from researchers working on social, ecological, political and ethical issues associated with urban food systems. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether local or global food systems are better positioned to promote food availability, food security, resilience and food justice in cities
  • Opportunities and limits of urban agriculture and community-based food systems
  • Relationship between urban food systems and other urban issues, such as affordable housing, land use and environmental justice
  • Evaluation of particular technological and system innovations within urban food systems, with respect to such things as increasing food production, improving tracking/monitoring, promoting food access, and reducing wastage and improving waste management
  • Historical perspectives on food systems and cities
  • Strategies for developing climate change resilience within urban food systems
  • Studies of the structure and efficacy of alternative food advocacy groups or movements, as well as assessment of concerns raised regarding them
  • Whether the concept of ‘food miles’ is useful and, if so, for what end or in what contexts
  • Studies of the economics of urban food systems
  • The role of cultural identify in urban food practices and the construction of urban food systems
  • Issues related to food system workers, particularly in urban contexts
  • Evaluation of food security programs in cities – federal, state, local and non-governmental
  • The extent to which cities ought to be able to regulate foods to promote public health
  • Challenges of democratic governance related to urban food system

The abstract submission deadline is December 15th, 2014. Please email submissions (and questions) to Christopher Bosso (c.bosso@neu.edu) or Ron Sandler (r.sandler@neu.edu). Those accepted will be asked to submit papers one month prior to the workshop, and papers will be made available to other workshop participants. Papers can be of any length and may be stand alone articles or chapters/sections of larger projects, but speakers will be limited to twenty-five minutes to present their ideas, followed by thirty minutes of discussion. For more information go to http://www.northeastern.edu/foodsystems/.

This workshop is sponsored by the Consortium on Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity and the Ethics Institute at Northeastern University, with financial and logistic support by the NU Humanities Center, College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Leave a comment

Filed under CFP, food systems, urban

CFP: Trusting the hand that feeds you

Conference of possible interest to readers of this blog:

The interdisciplinary research group Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel invites papers and panel proposals for its 2015 conference, Trusting the hand that feeds you. Understanding the historical evolution of trust in food, which will held in Brussels from 7 to 9 September 2015.

The conference will bring an historical perspective to the study of consumer anxieties about food. Paper proposals are due on December 15, 2014.  For more details, visit the conference web site.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology, CFP, food policy, food politics, Food Studies, history

The New Southern Food and Beverage Museum

SOFAB sign

David Beriss
University of New Orleans

Do you live somewhere with a cuisine of its own? How would you know? There have been some famous attempts to define cuisine, including one by Sidney Mintz that has generated a great deal of debate. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that a cuisine requires some kind of self conscious effort by people within a community to declare that their food should be thought of as a cuisine. Who gets to make that claim, what makes the claim legitimate, whether or not it might be disputed…I recognize that there are many questions that could be raised about this definition. But at least for my current purpose, the definition will work because it allows me to suggest that those of us who live in the American South have a cuisine. How do we know?

We have a museum dedicated to proving it.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is an actual free-standing cultural institution devoted to documenting the foodways of the American South. I have visited some fascinating, fun, and sometimes odd exhibits and museums devoted to food over the years. These include the Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory in Switzerland (and Hershey, PA as a kid), a mustard museum in Dijon, a beer museum in Prague, a flour museum in Minneapolis, many brewery and winery tours, visits to cheese makers (Roquefort Société puts on a good show), and of course the Coca Cola museum. Fascinating and entertaining as these can be, most are really advertisements for a particular company and its products, often with an excellent opportunity for sampling at the end of the tour. The Mill City museum is an exception. Run by the Minnesota Historical Society, it is built in the ruins of a flour mill on the banks of the Mississippi and really does make an effort to put the history of flour into a social context. But it, like nearly all the others, is still devoted to only one product. This is not where you go to learn about the food of a region or country.

As an effort to document and display the foods and foodways of the American South, SoFAB (yes, that is the acronym) joins a surprisingly robust range of other institutions around the region devoted to similar objectives. The Southern Foodways Alliance, which is part of the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, for example, or food studies as part of a larger program in American Studies at the University of North Carolina, contribute to the idea of distinctively southern culture and foodways.

SoFAB started out as the vision of one woman, Elizabeth Williams, who began work on the idea well over a decade ago. Starting in improvised spaces, she recruited people to build exhibits, participate in conferences, and organize events over the years, eventually landing a space in the Riverwalk shopping mall in New Orleans. I should probably reveal at this point that I am one of the people she recruited and am thus no impartial observer, having enthusiastically participated in a wide range of events at the museum. Liz has worked hard to build an institution that has ties to an immense network of people involved in food studies (including scholars from all over the world), but also to people in the food industry and activists of all sorts.

The museum has a new home, where it may become even more of a cultural juggernaut in the South and beyond. Last week I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new museum, which is now housed in a substantially renovated former market building in a neighborhood of New Orleans that is, as we say, “coming back.” The new site is quite a bit larger and will house permanent and temporary exhibits, a restaurant devoted to the region’s foods, the Museum of the American Cocktail (yes, that has been part of SoFAB all along), and an ongoing series of lectures, cooking demonstrations, conferences, and other events. SoFAB is also home to a substantial research library that is already a very useful resource for scholars interested in the study of food.

The new museum is a big deal here in New Orleans. The ribbon cutting was standing room only, with a surprisingly large media scrum and celebrities from all parts of New Orleans life in attendance. These included chefs and restaurateurs, musicians, scholars, neighborhood activists, and a large number of elected officials (or their representatives) from the state and the city. The museum’s new location contributes to the renovation of a neighborhood that has seen better days and is part of other development in the area, including the future home of the New Orleans Jazz Market (a performance space organized by musician and cultural activist Irvin Mayfield) and other restaurants (including Café Reconcile, a restaurant and institute devoted to training “at risk” young people for the restaurant industry). All of this is part of the ongoing effort to develop New Orleans “cultural economy” by the city and state, turning culture into an economic asset.

Which leads me back to the original question: how would you know if you have a cuisine? I don’t think having good or interesting food is enough. All food is interesting, at least for anthropologists. Not only that, but every society has its own foodways. To make those foodways a cuisine, people need to be interested and passionate about it. They have to be self-conscious about it. Above all, they must want to call it a cuisine. Here, in the American South and, especially, in New Orleans. we have all that. We have a museum to prove it.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology, cuisine, culture, foodways, museums, New Orleans, south

Eating Alone? Friends Are One Click Away

Sangyoub Park
Sociologist
Washburn University

Are you getting tired of “eating alone”? Now you have a solution. Just click away. While you’re eating, you can watch someone eat online. And this is exactly what’s happening in Korea. And this has become lucrative business.

chef king biryong

Pictured above is Ji-hwan Choi, known as Chef King Biryong on his Meok-bang show. He is one of the more well-known meok-bang show hosts. He is in military uniform to connect viewers and to bring back nostalgic memories because most males in Korea have to serve in the military. The Diva is another popular host.

This growing new trend of “watching someone eat” (meok-bang: eating on air or eating broadcasts in Korean) can be attributed to a number of factors. Among them, I will highlight four factors behind the soaring popularity of meok-bang.

First, this trend is strongly related to a growing number of one-person households. The proportion of single-person households drastically increased to 35.9 percent in 2013 from about 9 percent in 1990, according to Korean Statistics. Watching someone eat online can be one way of dealing with single-person’s loneliness. They do not want to eat alone. They want to alleviate a sense of “alienation.” While they are watching these shows, they feel connected.

Second, watching someone eat is also an efficient way to relieve stress from a fast-paced and hyper-competitive life style. Korean society has been dictated by a culture of “success at any cost,” which places enormous pressure to many Koreans. Students, for example, are stressed from demanding school life and young Koreans are pressured from hectic work life. By watching someone eat, it can be argued that Koreans are experiencing a vicarious pleasure.

Third, the popularity of meok-bang is attributed to advanced technology, especially super-fast internet connections in Korea. Korea is known as the most wired place on the globe. Hyper-fast internet speed make it possible for viewers to interact with the shows. Meok-bang shows are streamed live, so these shows are not one-way, but rather mutual. Meok-bang hosts and viewers are “emotionally” connected to each other. This explains why the hosts tell stories while they are eating (and cooking). Many stories can be shared with viewers as well. This emotional connection might be made possible due to the high number of smartphone users. Korea has the highest smartphone use with a penetration rate of over 70 percent in 2014. This similar trend of watching someone eat occurred in the 2000’s in Japan, but made use of VCR and DVD, which are one-way technologies.

Fourth, this trend is also associated with a culture of consumption. In affluent Korean society today, food is not simply meant to fill the stomach. In the past, Koreans ate because they were hungry. But today they are able to consume food based on taste and aesthetic. Meok-bang reflects this changing food culture in Korea as well.

I think that these surging meok-bang shows are producing a new way of “commensality without actually sharing the same table.” These shows may transform eating as an individual act in modern society to social eating by providing a platform of bonding and sharing with strangers.

Leave a comment

Filed under culture, foodways, internet, korea, public eating

2014 Christine Wilson Student Paper Award

Christine Wilson Award

Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition
2014 Christine Wilson Student Paper Award

DEADLINE OCT 31st

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) is pleased to invite students to submit papers in competition for the 2014 Christine Wilson Awards presented to outstanding undergraduate and graduate student research papers that examine topics within the perspectives in nutrition, food studies and anthropology.

Papers may report on research undertaken in whole or in part by the author. Co –authored work is acceptable, provided that submitting student is first author. Papers must have as their primary focus an anthropological approach to the study of food and/or nutrition and must present original, empirical research; literature reviews are not eligible. Papers that propose a new conceptual framework or outline novel research designs or methodological approaches are especially welcome. Winners will be recognized and presented with an award at the 2014 AAA meeting in Washington, DC and receive a year’s membership in SAFN.

Students (undergraduate or graduate) must be currently enrolled or enrolled during in the past academic year (Fall 2013 to present). The text of papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced and follow AAA style guidelines.  For application details please click on the link above or go here.

Deadline: October 31, 2014

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology

Thomas Marchione Award Deadline Update!

The deadline for submissions for the Thomas Marchione Award has been changed to October 31, 2014. 

All of the information about how to apply is available by clicking the link above or by going here.

Please spread the word!

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology

IEHCA Conference on Food History and Food Studies in Tours!

26-27 March 2015 – Tours (France)

The European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food (the IEHCA, Institut Européen d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation) is organising its first International Conference to be held on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March 2015 in Tours (France).

This is the first event of its kind and aims to become an annual gathering within the scope of a continuation of the IEHCA’s work over the last twelve years, carried out through its publications (Food & History, “Table des Hommes” collection), its support for research (organisation of conferences; awards for young researchers) and its facilitation of networking opportunities among Food Studies researchers (Yearly Summer School…).

The intention is that the symposium will bring together specialists from all over the world. No specific theme as been fixed for this first occasion; all proposals under the broad heading of Food Studies will be considered. In essence, it will be a multi- and cross-disciplinary event covering all historical periods.

All researchers are welcome (doctoral, post-doctoral, research lecturers, independent researchers, etc.).

Two types of submission, with free choice of subject, will be accepted:

Individual submissions, that should include:

  • the name(s) of the speaker/speakers
  • their institution(s) if applicable
  • the title of their paper
  • contact details
  • a 250-word abstract

Submissions for “panel” sessions on a given theme.

  • For each participant, the same information is required as for individual submissions.

Submissions will be reviewed and selected by the IEHCA’s academic committee.

Papers must not exceed 20 minutes in length and can be presented in English or French.

The Institute would be grateful if you could circulate this invitation to those who might be interested.

The closing date for sending submissions is the 15 December 2014.

Every complete submission will receive a reply within 10 days, irrespective of whether it is sent before or on the closing date.

They should be sent, as well as any questions, to Loïc Bienassis (loic.bienassis@iehca.eu).

Please note that conference participants’ expenses cannot be covered in whole or in part by the IEHCA.

Appel à communications et à sessions

Première Conférence Internationale d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation

26-27 mars 2015 – Tours (France)

L’Institut Européen d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation (IEHCA) organisera les jeudi 26 et vendredi 27 mars 2015 à Tours (France) sa première Conférence Internationale.

Cette manifestation, destinée à devenir un rendez-vous annuel, s’inscrit dans le prolongement des actions que mène l’IEHCA depuis douze ans à travers sa politique éditoriale (Food & History, collection Tables des Hommes), son soutien à la recherche (organisation de colloques ; aides aux jeunes chercheurs) et son travail de mise en réseau des chercheurs en Food Studies(Université d’Eté…).

Cette conférence aura l’ambition d’accueillir des spécialistes du monde entier. Aucun thème spécifique n’a été retenu pour cette première édition ; toutes les propositions relevant des Food Studies seront examinées : ce symposium est par essence pluri- et transdisciplinaire et couvrira l’ensemble des périodes historiques.

Tous les chercheurs sont les bienvenus (doctorants, post-doctorants, enseignants-chercheurs, chercheurs indépendants…)

Deux types de candidatures, portant sur un sujet libre, pourront être soumis :

Des candidatures individuelles, qui comporteront:

  • le nom du ou des communicants,
  • leur(s) éventuelle(s) institution(s) de rattachement,
  • le titre de leur intervention
  • leurs coordonnées
  • un résumé de 250 mots

Des candidatures par session portant sur l’organisation d’un « panel » autour d’un thème donné.

  • Pour chaque intervenant, devront figurer les mêmes informations que celles requises pour les candidatures individuelles.

Les candidatures seront examinées et sélectionnées par le comité scientifique de l’IEHCA.

Les communications ne devront pas excéder 20 minutes ; elles pourront être présentées en anglais ou en français.

N’hésitez pas à faire circuler cet appel autour de vous.

La date limite d’envoi des candidatures est fixée au 15 décembre 2014.

Les candidatures complètes recevront une réponse sous dix jours quelle que soit la date d’envoi.

Elles sont à adresser, ainsi que vos questions, à Loïc Bienassis.

Notez qu’aucun défraiement n’est prévu pour les participants à la conférence.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology, CFP, Food Studies