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

39th ICAF Conference Dec. 4-6 2014 “Food, Internet & Social Media”

ICAF CFP

Call for papers from the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition for their upcoming conference:

The International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (ICAF) invite proposals for papers exploring “Food, Internet and Social Media”. The aim of this conference will be the phenomenon of food culture in the age of virtualization and the virtual relationship around the social networks. Internet shows and shares our global and local preferences and our virtual habits reveal our food manners, social and ethnic identities, new behavioural patterns, eating habits… New categories related to Food as “Foodporn”, “Gastrosphere” “(virtual) Foodies”, “Instafood”, etc. emerges in a number of websites devoted to food aesthetics, wines, food and wine tourism,  restaurant reviews, food production and consumption, healthy diets and nutrition…

This conference aims to be an opportunity to discuss the global-local influence of the Internet and the virtual social media on the state of Food Culture and cultures. We invite participants to present their research on relevant subjects looking for an interdisciplinary approach that will reveal important aspects of the conference theme.

We encourage participants interested in this conference to submit an abstract for consideration. We welcome papers with anthropological, sociological, historical, nutritional, geographic or economic perspectives, as well as approaches from Health Sciences, Tourism, Enterprise, etc.

We welcome papers discussing the role of the Internet on food and nutrition in modern culture, especially regarding the (non-exhaustive) following issues:

  • Food Cultures, the Internet, and the Social Media;
  • The Internet and its influence regarding food sources, food production, distribution and consumption, economic trade-off…;
  • The influence of Internet information about food influencing consumer health, nutrition and welfare;
  • Social Media and new behavioural patterns and eating habits: Foodporn, foodies, food aesthetics, social attitudes and behaviours…;
  • Food, Identities and the virtual world: the new construction of local, traditional food, identities, and self-sufficiency versus international food;
  • Consumer communication, information and insights;
  • The influence of the Internet in gastronomy, food and wine tourism, food events…;
  • Food, Internet, education, and research.

SUBMISSIONS OF PROPOSALS

Proposals should be submitted by October 15th 2014. Abstracts and papers should be in Spanish, English or Portuguese.

Submit your abstract of 200-300 words in an email (no attachments) to icafmontanchez2014@gmail.com, and include a brief biographical statement (max. 150 words).

We will notify you by November 2nd if your proposal has been accepted.

For more information about this call, or the conference, please contact:

icafmontanchez2014@gmail.com

Deadline:  October 15th 2014

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Food Forward on PBS

Food-Forward-COVE-16x9-288x162

David Beriss
University of New Orleans

Food Forward is a new documentary series on PBS focusing on people experimenting with new (and sometimes very old) ways of producing food in the United States. The broadcast schedule is available on the PBS website and you can also watch full episodes there. There is a great deal of information about the show available on the Food Forward website as well.

If you visit the web site, you will see that the directors try to distinguish their shows from the cooking competitions, restaurant rescues, and searches for exotic foods that populate food television. But this is PBS, so that is not really a relevant comparison. Instead, Food Forward differentiates itself by not being another documentary about why our food system is inexorably leading us to nutritional and environmental doom. The makers of Food Forward argue that we need a way out, a plan, a way to save ourselves. The episodes document the stories of people who are trying to make food better. They call them “Food Rebels,” because they are taking on the industrial food system, finding ways to produce foods that they claim are environmentally sustainable, healthy, tasty, sometimes even affordable.

I have watched two episodes and the food rebellion looks delicious, the landscapes look beautiful, even the people seem spiritual and remarkably handsome. It would be easy to be cynical about all this — so much optimism in the face of our massive industrial food system might be a bit quixotic. But there is in fact quite a lot to think about here. There are fascinating food innovations, including sustainable farm raised fish in the very first episode. A lot of the innovations are described as efforts to return to older ways of doing things–from fishing with weirs to raising grass-fed beef without antibiotics or hormones. The farmers and fishers who are doing these things are also finding ways to make these methods profitable. These are hopeful films and, frankly, it is easy (and pleasurable) to get swept up in the optimism.

The two episodes I watched, “Go Fish!” and “The Meat of the Matter,” are about fishers, ranchers, and farmers, documenting both production (on ranches, boats, fish farms, etc.) and distribution (community supported fisheries, community supported farmers, restaurants, markets, etc.). There will be episodes that explore urban farming, GMOs, obesity, school lunch, and even hunting (at least 5 episodes are currently available on the PBS site; I assume more are to come). If all the episodes are as good as the first two, any of them could be usefully shown in anthropology classes dealing with food and culture. There is a great deal here to generate discussion among students, many useful questions to be raised. The length of the episodes (about 25 minutes each) also lends itself to class use. Take a look. Let us know (in the comments section) what you think.

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Filed under anthropology, farming, film, food activism, food and health, food policy, Food Studies, nutrition, sustainability

A Sandwich Story and a Street Food Network

David Beriss
University of New Orleans

An article about a monumental sandwich, the torta Cubana, crossed my path recently. Mixing religion (and Mormon missionary work), gender, national identity, and what might be a sandwich induced conversion experience, this is inspiring food writing. Inspiring to go find a torta Cubana, of course, but also inspiring to think about the implications and history of street food and sandwich names. Why does Mexico have the Cubana, but (at least according to the article), Cuba the Cubano? Do people even think about Cubans (of any gender) or Cuba when they eat one or the other? Here in New Orleans we have the “po’boy” (or “poor boy”), a name with roots in a 1929 street car strike. The history, written by my colleague Michael Mizell-Nelson, is fascinating, but I suspect that most people today are unlikely to pause to honor the struggles of the street car workers before digging in.

There are people who are looking into these questions. And asking more serious ones too. In fact, having read the Torta Cubana piece, I found this email from Richard Wilk, with information about a network of such people. Here it is:

The Street Food Global Network (www.streetfoodglobalnetwork.net) was created in 2012 with the aim to link people and organizations directly involved or interested in street food trade and governance worldwide.

The network is meant to be an multidisciplinary space where members can find, share, develop and implement best practices, instruments and strategies fostering an innovative street food.

Members can access a rich documents archive and participate in forums and mailing lists, to share information and ideas.

Rather than a mere virtual space, the network is meant to achieve real cooperation, joint projects, and collective publications.

To date, 180 people from 60 countries have joined the SFGN. Among them: 70 scholars from several fields (Nutritionists, Economists, Sociologists, Anthropologists), 25 professionals working in non-profit local and international organizations (eg. FAO), and 15 public managers.

Several members of the network have recently particpated in the editing of the book “Street Food. Culture, Economy, Health and Governance” by Cardoso, Companion, Marras (eds.) (Routledge, 2014).

The SFGN is managed by the Street Food SQUARE Association (www.streetfoodsquare.org).

 

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Filed under anthropology, Food Studies, Mexico, New Orleans, sandwich

Food not Mines? Questions Regarding Sweden’s National Mining and Food Policies and Sami Rights

Amanda S. Green
Oregon State University

On September 14 Sweden will hold its national and municipal elections. What is most remarkable about these elections – from my perspective – is the increasing popularity of Sweden’s right-wing, nationalist party (the Swedish Democrats) that only gained parliamentary standing in the 2010 elections (with 5.7% of the vote) and the unprecedented attention paid to questions of Sami and reindeer herding rights.

In a recent interview on national radio with the Swedish Democrat’s leader, Jimmie Åkesson, the reporter asked for the party’s position on Sami land use rights and Sweden’s intention to continue mining in the north (the historic lands of the Sami people). Åkesson’s response was typical for his party: “by Sami I suppose you mean reindeer herders, the 10% of Sami who engage in herding on nearly one third of the country’s land. Mining is important to Sweden, and if it has to take account of reindeer herding it will be hindered. A balance has to be found, and the national interest must take priority.” Åkesson then dismissed the reporter’s question regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

At this moment, most of Sweden’s leading political parties (including right-wing, center/moderate, and socialist) are strongly promoting the mining of iron in the north to largely foreign companies, but not without debate. Much of this discussion has been occurring in Jokkmokk, the rural town where I have been conducting ethnographic research for the past year. Jokkmokk is unique in northern Sweden. It is in one of the few regions that has no mining industry, has a strong reindeer herding industry, and has a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Laponia, within its borders.

Where does food come in to a discussion of mining? Sweden’s leading political parties have simultaneously been building the national Matlandet program (the Culinary Nation) that is intended to revitalize Sweden’s rural regions by building artisanal and local food production. In 2014 Jokkmokk was selected as Sweden’s Matlandethuvudstad, or Culinary Capital, partly in recognition of the Sami culinary and reindeer heritage that is so strong in the region as well as the wild products that come from its mountains and forests.

Jokkmokk’s inhabitants live between the tensions of these two national programs: mining town or food town. Government representatives from both the food and mining sectors have visited the town during the past year, each there to promote or explain their programs. In interviews, food producers expressed positive and negative views to mining, acknowledging that more customers and more money help any business at the same time that Jokkmokk’s nature-based image and the land base for wild food production are destroyed. They are also unsure that food production or mining alone are the solution to revitalizing rural areas.

Sami Slow Food

 

Interesting forms of protest occur within this tension. For example, Slow Food Sapmi released a beautiful and informative cookbook this spring Smak på Sapmi (Taste of Sapmi) involving many individuals from the Jokkmokk area. On the same day of the cookbook release, the below image of a Swedish open pit mine began to circulate via Facebook. Overlaid on the image is the text: Taste of Sapmi: The Colonizer’s Best Recipes, New Chapter, Mining Boom 2.0.

Sami Open Pit2

 

The context raises questions about national policies, the role of food in rural development and imagination, not to mention questions of indigenous rights and recognition. For anyone headed to Slow Food’s biannual Terra Madre this year, check out the Slow Food Sápmi booth and cookbook (send me your impressions!). Until then, I will be writing and awaiting the results of this election. Thus far, polls indicate increasing support (10%) for the Swedish Democrats, and yet quite interestingly, support for Sami cuisines also continues to grow.

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Filed under anthropology, food activism, food politics, human rights, indigenous people, Sweden