Author Archives: foodanthro

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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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Filed under anthropology, CFP, Food Studies

How to Eat Food

It is Friday and that may be a good enough reason to add some radio comedy to our anthropology. Alert SAFN member and blog correspondent Leslie Carlin sends in the following recommendations for our readers.

For a fun– and clever- riff on food and society, have a listen to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation: How to Eat Food‘ (Best line from this week’s show, when it touched on agri-business: ‘Big Farma’).

This is apparently part 1 of 4, but note that each episode is only available on the web site for 7 days and by the time we post this, you will have roughly 5 days to listen to the episode above.

Also on BBC Radio 4, and often entertaining, is ‘The Kitchen Cabinet’, hosted by Jay Rayner; it’s a bit like the Splendid Table.

The station’s flagship food-related show is The Food Programme, which is more earnest and topic-focused.

Food radio appears to be thriving, which might seem counter intuitive in the television and internet age. The number of food shows on American radio, both local and national, is increasing so fast that it is hard to keep up. It would be interesting to know more about food radio in other countries. Please feel free to send us your recommendations from all over the world!

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Filed under anthropology, foodways, media, radio

Global Health/Medical Anthropology Colby College

Global Health/Medical Anthropology Colby College
http://careercenter.aaanet.org/jobs/6455400/global-health-medical-anthropology

The Global Studies program at Colby College invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor, beginning September 1, 2015 for candidates with demonstrated research and teaching expertise in global health, humanitarianism and medical anthropology whose work is centered outside North America or Europe. We especially encourage applications from those working in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The successful candidate will have Ph.D. in hand and will be expected to teach an interdisciplinary course on complex problems in global health, cultural anthropology (intro), a senior seminar on global health or humanitarianism and two other courses in the candidate’s areas of interest.

 
Applicants should send a cover letter, CV, a statement of teaching philosophy and research interests, evidence of teaching skills and accomplishment, a representative writing sample, a transcript and names of three references to Patrice Franko, Chair, Global Studies Search Committee, globalstudiessearch@colby.edu. No paper, please; electronic applications only. Review of applications will begin on Nov. 1, 2014 and will continue until the position is filled.Colby is a private, coeducational liberal arts college that admits students and makes personnel decisions on the basis of the individual’s qualifications to contribute to Colby’s educational objectives and institutional needs. Colby College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, or veteran’s status in employment or in our educational programs. Colby is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and operates in accordance with federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination. For more information about the College, please visit our website: www.colby.edu

 

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What FoodAnthropology is Reading

David Beriss
University of New Orleans

An occasional and somewhat random list of articles, books, web sites, movies, television shows, and other sources of inspiration from anthropologists of food and nutrition. Feel free to send us items we should include in future installments.

The adventures of a French ethnographic film maker traveling across the United States, exploring local foodways. This is a very intriguing web project and a stunning web site. Settle in and enjoy the experience.

Watch  a lecture by Yale historian Paul Freedman on the history of celebrity chefs, at the annual MAD symposium in Copenhagen. If you visit the Mad site, you will find lots of other interesting lectures.

An interview with historian Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar: A Bittersweet History, about the role of sugar in contemporary diets, spotted by anthropologist Leslie Carlin.

Anthropologist and former SAFN president Janet Chrzan sends in this article in Mother Jones , which looks at a few recent studies about the American diet and concludes that while some people are eating better, any overall change in national eating habits will need to be driven by changes in the economy (income inequality, for example), rather than in the food system.

From Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet, to Green Acres, people have made fun of city folks who want to be farmers. But if you are seriously considering it, this piece from Modern Farmer might be a helpful read.

The U.S. Postal Service is honoring chefs with a new series of stamps. The article that explains this also discusses stamps in other countries that honor iconic foods. It might be even better if the stamps were scratch and sniff (maybe not the chef stamps, however).

School lunch has become one of the battle fields for the American culture wars. This article, by Franco-American journalist Hélène Crié-Wiesner, tries to make sense of the fight for French readers. The article, which is in French, suggests that the debate is less about food and kids and more about anti-Obama propaganda.

We have not seen the first issue of Render: Feminist Food & Culture Quarterly, but the web site is pretty interesting and you may want to take a look. For example, Phylisa Wisdom’s article on loving Mexican food in the context of U.S. immigration debates poses some sharp questions about culture, representation, labor, immigration, and other issues and might help start a robust discussion in a food studies class.

On the subject of journals, there is a new(ish) Canadian Food Studies journal and it is open access, so you can go ahead a read it even now. And if you want, you can also submit articles. Details and issues (well, 1.5 issues, it looks like so far) on the web site.

And on the subject of immigration and labor, this recent article in The New Yorker describes the efforts to organize fast food workers that have resulted in increasingly large protests, sit-ins and strikes in the last few years. The central demand is for a $15 hourly minimum wage in the industry along with recognition for unions, but the industry objects that this is too much. From the daily lives of workers, to the history of unions, the organization of the fast food and broader restaurant industry, there is much in this article for class discussions.

What are other food anthropologists reading? Let us know!

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Filed under anthropology, food activism, food policy, Food Studies, labor, nutrition