ASFS Student Paper Awards

Students! Got a brilliant paper on some topic related to food, culture, and society? The Association for the Study of Food and Society might have an award for you. Actually, they have two, one for undergrads, the other for graduate students. The deadline is February 1, 2014, which is rather soon.  Details on prizes (which include money and various other benefits for attending the ASFS conference, either this year or next), on what kinds of paper qualify, who may submit, and how to submit are here.

If you have a paper, you should consider entering.

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Filed under anthropology, awards, Call for Papers, CFP, Food Studies

Anthropology of Food Position, Monmouth College

A job announcement in food anthropology!

Monmouth College, a selective, private, residential liberal arts college in Illinois is creating an interdisciplinary emphasis in Food Security, through coordinated hiring across three disciplines. It is conducting tenure-track searches at the Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor level. Individuals with a background in Anthropology, Biology, or Economics and a strong interest in issues related to the production, uses, and/or accessibility of food are invited to apply. An important element of the work of the Food Security faculty is an understanding of the special role that the American Heartland can play in the emerging global economy. The successful applicants will help create an innovative model for liberal arts education by fostering the integration of knowledge in service of the important issues facing our world. Monmouth’s curricular focus on integrated learning is reinforced by an innovative new academic building that was designed to foster interactions across disciplines. Candidates must show enthusiasm for interdisciplinary teaching and for participating in general education, including Monmouth’s Integrated Studies Curriculum. In addition, they will be committed to undergraduate teaching excellence, to teaching and research focused upon food security, scholarship, academic advising, and the College’s liberal arts mission.

The successful Anthropology candidate will possess expertise in the field of food studies (local and global food cultures, food and inequality, food networks). Potential courses to be taught include Introduction to Anthropology, Anthropology of Food/Food Cultures, an area Anthropology course, or other courses in the candidate’s area of expertise.

Review of applications will begin on January 10, 2014. Please send cover letter, curriculum vitae, brief statement of teaching philosophy, evidence of teaching excellence, research statement, and three letters of recommendation by e-mail to: Dr. David Timmerman, Dean of the Faculty, Monmouth College at facultysearch@monmouthcollege.edu. The candidate’s teaching and research statements should give particular attention to working on Food Security with the other members of the triad as well as other Monmouth College faculty members who will join the effort. Monmouth College, an Equal Opportunity Employer, is committed to diversity and encourages applications from women and minority candidates.

More details on the job can be found here.

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Collaboration and Innovation Across the Food System

Annual Joint Conference

Association for the Study of Food and Society and

the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society

June 18-22, 2014, the University of Vermont

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Submission deadline: February 1, 2014

Decisions will be made by March 15, 2014

Overview

This year’s ASFS/AFHVS Annual meeting and Conference invites dialogue about the importance of collaboration and innovation across the food system. Such dialogue can occur at many levels: across disciplines, between locations, amongst community members.

Vermont is a perfect location to consider both the present realities and future possibilities of an integrated and sustainable food system. University of Vermont’s Food Systems Initiative is a new trans-disciplinary initiative which seeks to strengthen the viability of regional food systems for globally scaled issues through research, education, and outreach. UVM faculty affiliated with the Food Systems initiative represent a wide range of disciplines and are engaged in collaborative research, including such topics as gender, class and food work; the economic and health effects of sugar sweetened beverage taxes, dairy cattle health in food production systems and the ethics of the food system.

Food Systems collaborations extend beyond the University. For example, Vermont’s Farm to Plate initiative is designed to increase economic development in Vermont’s food and farm sector, create jobs in the food and farm economy and improve access to healthy local foods. What will such collaborations do to help shape our future food system? How do we understand the many innovations occurring every day, not just in Vermont but at universities, government entities, NGOs and on the ground all over the world?

Submissions are strongly encouraged in the following four formats:

  • Lightning talk* (five minutes maximum, similar to Pecha Kucha, Ignite, talk20, etc.)
  • Posters (eligible for awards, including a student category)
  • Pre-organized Scholarly Panels (papers submitted to discussants and panel members in advance)
  • Pre-Organized Pedagogy and Outreach sessions (roundtables, workshops, etc.)

Submissions are also accepted for 15 minute conventional paper presentations to be grouped with 2 to 3 other papers by members of the program committee. We strongly encourage practitioners, activists, government staff, and those with other practical knowledge of food and agricultural systems to participate, in addition to academics. We ask submitters formulating panels, roundtables and workshops to consider including participants whose orientation goes beyond the narrowly academic.

We especially encourage submissions that speak directly to the theme, but also welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

  • Art, Media, & Literary Analyses
  • Research Methods
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Agroecology & Conservation
  • Ethics & Philosophy
  • Community Engagement
  • Gender, Race & Ethnicity
  • Globalization
  • Nutrition and Nutrition Policy
  • Social Justice
  • Farm to School; Farm to Institution
  • Pedagogy
  • Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts
  • Social Action & Social Movements
  • Sustainability

Student Involvement

Students are especially encouraged to submit proposals. The professional societies include many members who have pioneered transdisciplinary work in food systems. It is our responsibility to encourage and foster this next generation of scholars, researchers and practitioners who will build on those foundations.

Abstract Submission

Please note: Due to strong increases in the number of abstract submissions for this conference in recent years, in 2014, only one submission per person as lead author or submitter will be accepted (in any format).

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Filed under anthropology, Call for Papers, CFP, Food Studies, foodways

Do you know if your seafood is “sustainable”? (Don’t worry, neither do I)

Seafood photo

Post by Lillian Brown, PhD student in Anthropology and Food Studies at Indiana University

I recently started a crowd-funding campaign for my dissertation research on sustainability in the seafood industry. I want to know if I can, and how I would, determine whether or not the seafood on my plate is “sustainable”. To answer this question, I need to have a pretty clear picture of where the particular seafood in question comes from. Then I need to decide how to define and measure its sustainability. Most consumer-driven seafood conservation efforts encourage individuals to engage in this type of informed decision-making, which is why I chose to start my research at this stage of inquiry.

Having already worked on sustainable food systems and seafood research for a notable portion of my undergraduate and graduate careers, I knew this would be no easy task—therein laying the research potential. But I also knew that by the time we consumers order seafood off a menu or a display case, someone else has already significantly narrowed our options. This process limits the access we have to information about how this seafood got to the marketplace, and what other options exist. Even the most intrepid consumers would have to work pretty hard to fill in the gaps.

The Author.

The Author.

I wondered where this hypothetical intrepid-consumer would start. So I decided to ask restaurants how they decide what fish and shellfish they serve. Imagine the seafood supply chain. Fishers and fish farmers capture and produce fish. Suppliers and/or distributors buy this fish and sell it to restaurants and markets, which in turn sell and serve it to their consumers. So when consumers purchase seafood from a retailer, the middlemen in this supply chain have already in large part determined our choices for us.  My question, then, is what can these middlemen tell us about sustainability in the seafood industry?

Working in restaurant kitchens, and with seafood distributors and wholesalers I will ask what really matters to them when they buy seafood to sell and serve to their customers. What are their options, and how do they determine their priorities? How do they quantify, or qualify, their criteria? I want to know if they care whether or not seafood is “sustainable”—if so, why, and how do they define it? Then, I will do an archival analysis of federal US and International policy documents, as well as popular conservation efforts and scientific research focusing on sustainable seafood to see if the rhetoric these groups use matches my results in the field.

I expect to find that industry professionals and fishers can talk about eating seafood as well as where it came from at the same time, even in the context of sustainability. A cook’s preference for fish, for instance, will depend on the cut of the fish (fillet or a steak), how it is preserved (fresh, currently or previously frozen, smoked, pickled, salted and dried), and its origin (cold vs. warm water, fresh vs. salt water, farmed vs. wild caught). It will also depend on the technology they plan to cook it with—whether they will deep-fry it, pan fry it, cook it on a grill, or put it in a soup. Many types of seafood taste better, cheaper, or only available at certain times of year due to seasonality, and will often correspond with holidays or family traditions. Specific types of seafood fare better in certain recipes, or culinary styles (paella vs. ceviche, for example). All of these factors contribute to the way a fish will taste on a plate. And, in any case, restaurants and fishers alike may value price and the ability to move product over other variables.

Most policy-makers and scientists consider seafood production and consumption independently from each other. And these conversations usually revolve around how much fish we are eating. But we don’t know very much about how seafood values shift in the marketplace. This is because current fishing research and policy focuses almost entirely on modes of production. What I would like to find is a way to bridge communication between the seafood industry, policy-makers, scientists through conversations about eating sustainable seafood.

For more information on the project, please visit the Microryza site here.

Note from the editor: Readers will notice that the author of this post has provided a link to a Microryza web site. This is a crowdfunding web site for science research. It seems that at least some graduate students in anthropology are using this as a way to fund their research. SAFN welcomes blog postings from graduate students whose work is related to the anthropology of food and nutrition that follow this model. Such postings must, of course, follow our other guidelines (see the Blog Contributors page for more details) for contributions to the blog.

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Filed under anthropology, economics, fish, food policy, Food Studies, foodways, markets, SAFN Member Research, seafood

New Prize: The Thomas Marchione Food-as-a-Human-Right Award

Post by John Brett, President, Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is pleased to announce an endowed award that honors the seminal work Dr. Thomas Marchione did on behalf of the poor and undernourished in his scholarly work and through his work as a Peace Corps volunteer, at The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, The Great Lakes Project on the Economic Crisis and USAID.  Made possible through generous donations of family and friends, this annual award will be given to a student whose work continues and expands Dr. Marchione’s efforts toward food justice, food security and access, and most directly, food as a human right.  Students applying for this award should demonstrate active and productive engagement with food security and food sovereignty issues.  The award can be in recognition of exemplary work already accomplished, in progress, or for proposed research in the field of food as a human right and the social justice aspects of food systems.  It should show concern for the poor and undernourished and a willingness to take an active role in working on behalf of food sovereignty.  Ideally, it would be given to those who are trying to work, in Dr. Marchione’s words, on “the best and more sustainable approaches to fulfill the right to food.”  Given Dr. Marchione’s legacy, preference will be given to proposals from students actively engaged in the central issues that animated his career as a scholar-activist.

There will be one annual award of $600.  The award may be for proposed or in-process research or a research prize for completed work.  The award will be presented to the awardee at the SAFN annual business meeting at the AAA annual meeting.  For more information and application materials, click here. The application deadline is October 4, 2013.

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Filed under Announcements, anthropology, awards, Call for Papers, food security, human rights, Thomas Marchione

Did Feasting Promote Cooperation in the Ancient Andes?

The author excavating a camelid jaw. Photo by Jordan Farfan.

The author excavating a camelid jaw. Photo by Jordan Farfan.

post by Kasia Szremski
Vanderbilt University

Since 2008, I have been studying the relationship between intergroup interaction and agricultural production on the Western slopes of the Peruvian Andes. One of the areas that my research highlights is the way in which food was key to political maneuvering that took place during this time period.  The search for food was one of the driving forces behind pre-contact Andean geo-political maneuvering, particularly during the Late Intermediate Period (1100-1472 CE).  The steepness of the Andean slopes creates stacked microclimates and each of these microclimates is suited to growing a different suite of crops.  As such, Andean farmers had to maintain fields at various different elevations in order to add variety to their diets as well as to mitigate the risk of crop failure (see Murra 2002 for a complete explanation of this system).  This movement up and down the Andean slopes in search of agricultural space led to a great deal of interaction between different cultural groups in different regions and the outcomes of these interactions sometimes often wide reaching impacts on regional geo-politics (c.f. Dillehay 1979; Rostworowski 1973; 1988).

My research takes place in the Huanangue Valley, which runs through an ecotone known locally as the chaupiyunga.

Research area.

Research area.

The chaupiyunga serves as the cultural and ecological boundary between the coast and the highlands.  My data shows that the Huanangue Valley was the setting for intense sets of interaction between the coastal Chancay, highland Atavillos and local chaupiyungino  groups, all of whom wanted access to the very limited, but very rich, agricultural lands which were ideal for growing highly valued crops such as  maize, coca, chili peppers and fruit.  In contrast to other regions of the Andes, where coastal and highland groups tended to come into violent conflict with each other over access to agricultural land, the different groups in the Huanangue Valley seem to coexist peacefully with each other.

Based on preliminary excavation data, I am beginning to understand why.  We know that the local chaupiyunginos controlled the uptakes for the irrigation canals which also allowed them to indirectly control agricultural production in the valley.  As such, when the Chancay moved into chaupiyungino territory from the coast, they would have had to find a way to convince the local people to give them access to water so that they could water their fields.  As the Huanangue Valley was relatively far away from the Chancay heartland, Chancay settlers did not have the support they needed in order to forcibly take the irrigation uptakes.  However, the Chancay did have access to highly valued coastal foods such as shellfish and peanuts.  During excavation, we found ample evidence of feasting at the Chancay site of Salitre.  My hypothesis is that the Chancay held feasts at Salitre and invited their local chaupiyungino neighbors to these feasts.  At these feasts chaupiyunginos were provided with shellfish, camelid meat and other delicacies as part of a strategy of alliance building, through which the Chancay hoped to ensure their access to water.  Thus, not only did the desire for food bring the Chancay into chaupiyungino territory, forcing the two groups to face each other, but the sharing of food helped alleviate tensions between the groups, allowing them to share water and land peacefully.

DSC06505I am working to prove my hypothesis through analyzing soil samples taken from Chancay and chaupiyungino sites in order to better understand where crops were being grown and consumed.  More information about my efforts can be found at  https://www.microryza.com/projects/feasting-interaction-and-the-middle-ground-understanding-local-geopolitics-through-agricultural-production.

References Cited

Dillehay, Tom. 1979. Pre-Hispanic Resource Sharing in the Central Andes. Science 204(6):24-31.

Murra, John. 2002. El Mundo Andino: Población, Medio Ambiente, y Economía. Fondo Editorial PUCP, Lima, Perú.

Rostworowski, María. 1973. Las Etnias de Valle del Chillón. Revista del Museo Nacional. 38:250-314.

Rostworowski, María. 1988. Conflicts Over Coca Fields in XVIth-Century Perú. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology. no 21. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Note from the editor: Readers will notice that the author of this post has provided a link to a Microryza web site. This is a crowdfunding web site for science research. It seems that at least some graduate students in anthropology are using this as a way to fund their research. SAFN welcomes blog postings from graduate students whose work is related to the anthropology of food and nutrition that follow this model. Such postings must, of course, follow our other guidelines (see the Blog Contributors page for more details) for contributions to the blog.

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Filed under agriculture, Andes, anthropology, archaeology, economics, farming, feasting, food security, Food Studies, history, Peru, war

Christine Wilson Award

Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition
2013 Christine Wilson Student Paper Award

DEADLINE OCT 4!

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) is pleased to invite students to submit papers in competition for the 2013 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 2013 AAA meeting in Chicago, IL 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 2012 to present). The text of papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced and follow AAA style guidelines.  For application details please the Christine Wilson Award page here.

Deadline: October 4, 2013

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Filed under AAA 2013 Chicago, Announcements, anthropology, awards, Call for Papers, CFP, Christine Wilson, Food Studies