AFHVS/ASFS Annual Meeting and Conference, June 14-17, 2017

It is time for the annual call for abstracts from the best food studies conference in North America. This year it will be hosted at Occidental College, in sunny southern California. The call for abstracts and details, from the conference sponsors, follows:

Occidental College is pleased to host the Joint 2017 Annual Meetings and Conference of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS) and the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS).

The conference theme, “Migrating Food Cultures: Engaging Pacific Perspectives on Food and Agriculture,” invites us to reflect on and engage with the entirety of the Pacific region. The conference setting of Los Angeles, California, is a dynamic, diverse, and multiethnic global city that serves as a gateway, destination, and waypoint. Much of the food itself in California is produced in part by migrating workers and immigrants; indeed, the food scene in Los Angeles is the result of migrating food cultures. We use our conference’s location to invite participants to imagine and explore how the agricultural and food worlds throughout the Pacific mesh with environmental, social, cultural, historical, and material resources. We likewise invite participants to examine the roles of people, place, innovation, food production, and consumption, with attention to how these roles reflect and reinforce the social, economic, and cultural food landscapes of the Pacific.

http://oxyfoodconference.org/

Submissions

AFHVS and ASFS support scholarship and public presentation on a wide variety of topics at their conferences. For this year’s conference, in keeping with the theme, we encourage but do not require that papers, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops speak to the theme. These sessions can be from practitioners, activists, and others working in food systems and culture. Submission areas include but are not limited to:

  • Food systems: local and global, past and present
  • Culture and cultural studies
  • Discipline-specific and interdisciplinary research
  • Art, design, and technology
  • Ethics and philosophy
  • Food access, security, and sovereignty
  •  Migration, immigration, diaspora and transnational community studies
  • Community studies
  • Cultural, agricultural, and culinary preservation and innovation
  • Governance, policy, and rights
  • Pedagogy, food education, and/or experiential education
  • Labor in the food system, production, consumption
  • Energy and agriculture
  • Health: problems, paradigms, and professions

Submission Procedure

Submission system opens: December 15, 2016

Abstracts due: January 31, 2017

All proposals must include:

  1. type of submission (e.g., individual paper, panel, roundtable, lightning talk, exploration gallery, etc.);
  2. title of paper, panel, or event;
  3. submitter’s name, organizational affiliation, and status (e.g., undergraduate, graduate student, postdoc, faculty, independent scholar, community)
  4. submitter’s email address;
  5. names, email addresses, and organizational affiliations of co-authors or co-organizers;
  6. abstract of 250 or fewer words that describes the proposed paper, panel, or event;
  7. indication of any special AV/technology needs;
  8. a list of up to six descriptive keywords/phrases for the program committee to use in organizing sessions and events;
  9. any attachments must include the last name of the submitter (i.e., LANGpanel.doc).

For individual papers: Papers will be grouped with similarly themed topics to the best of the program organizer’s abilities. Please submit a single abstract along with contact information.

For panels: Panels are pre-organized groups of no more than 4 papers, with a chair and discussant (who may be one person). Please include a panel abstract as well as abstracts for each individual paper. Conference organizers will make the utmost effort to preserve panels but reserve the right to move papers with consultation from panel organizer.

For roundtables: Roundtables are less formal discussion forums where participants speak for a short time before engaging with audience members. Please submit a single abstract along with a list of expected participants.

For lightning talks: Lightning talks are a short talk format. Each talk will last a maximum of 5 minutes and will be included in a session with other lightning talks. The goal is to quickly, insightfully, and clearly convey your point while grabbing the audience’s attention.

For workshops: Workshops are experiential or focused sessions where participants pre-register. Please provide an abstract as well as a list of organizers, resource and space needs, and any expected costs. We, unfortunately, do not have kitchen space for participants.

For exploration gallery display and poster proposals: Graduate students, food scholars, NGOs, researchers outside the academy, artists, and other members of the community are welcome to propose works for the 2017 Exploration Gallery. All media are welcome, including installations, print and other visual forms, audio, posters, and other works of art and design. A limited number of screen-based submissions will be accepted.

Notifications of acceptance will be provided by Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Attendees are expected to register by Sunday, April 30, 2017. For inclusion on the final program, at least one author from each submission must be registered as an attendee. Attendees must be members of AFHVS or ASFS at the time of the conference. The conference organizers regret that we are unable to provide travel support for meeting participation. Multiple submissions from an author are allowed, though we reserve the right to limit acceptance of multiple submissions by any one author. Space for workshops is limited and will be determined based on available resources.

http://oxyfoodconference.org/

Please direct questions to foodstudies@oxy.edu

 

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Out With The Old: Gentrifying Seoul’s Noryangjin Fish Market

 

By Markus Bell and Jieun Kim

In 1998 an article in Seoul’s Kyeonghyang newspaper described a visit to Seoul’s Noryanggin Fish Market as follows:

“Arriving in the Noryanggin Fish Market your timid heart will flutter like an excited fish in water. Whether you buy or not, simply strolling around the market will wash the sweaty odor from your body” (Sept. 5, 1998).

Noryangjin fish market is a cultural institution, and that’s why news of its relocation and ‘modernization’, following directives from the government cooperative, the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives (NFFC), has caused such a stir.

A fish market was established in 1927, during the Japanese colonial period, near Seoul central station. It moved to Noryangjin in 1971.

The recent relocation plans include replacing the market with a resort complex that includes hotels, entertainment facilities, and chain restaurants. But the NFFC and a determined group of market vendors are at odds over the move.

The vendors’ union insists that the government has ignored the voices of the merchants. They claim that the new building is unsuitable for trade, with less space and higher rent. As of late July this year, 321 of the 1,334 merchants – some 24% – were refusing to relocate.

Bell Protest banners at market

Banners protesting the relocation hang from the ceiling, photo by Markus Bell.

The state argues that the rent is reasonable, and claims that vendors are “illegally using private property.” Recently, violent clashes between vendors and the NFFC resulted in several injuries.

The market place relocation denotes a ‘qualia’ shift in Korea’s dining culture toward “cleanness.”

Nicholas Harkness (2013) noted a shift in contemporary soju drinking practices in Korea. Analyzing soju advertisements, he stressed that “softness” is analogically linked to other dimensions, such as femininity in soju consumption and representation. The qualia of the dining experience means a greater emphasis placed on “cleanness” – hygienically, visually, and in the relationship between the buyers and sellers.

During our visit to Noryangjin market, in the middle of an August heat wave, banners protesting the relocation hang from the ceiling and windows are boarded up. Listless middle-aged Korean women fan themselves atop up-turned beer crates, barely finding the energy to tout their wares.

Record heat or not, it’s business as usual. Huge containers are filled to the brim with everything from lobster to sea cucumber. The catch of the day is sea bass. We enter into negotiations with a fast-talking vendor.

Tossing a plump fish onto the concrete the fishmonger exacts a fatal blow on our chosen victim. Without hesitation, she guts it and strips the scales.

Bell Ocean to Chopping Board

From the ocean to the chopping board. Photo by Markus Bell.

Clutching polystyrene dishes of finely sliced raw fish, we dance our way around puddles of stagnant water to the doors of the on-site restaurant.

“Oe-seo-o-seyo!” the staff welcome, ushering us to our table. Several groups of Chinese tourists have set up camp at tables strewn with beer bottles and an afternoon’s worth of shelled crustacean. A red-faced man is slumped in the corner; chin on chest he defies the efforts of his party to wake him.

We peel off slice after slice of sashimi with metal chopsticks, coat it in soy sauce and wasabi, and wrap it in sesame leaves. It has a bite that can only be chased by Korea’s green-eyed monster – soju.

As the afternoon bleeds into the evening the table groans under the weight of empty bottles.

Bell Post afternoon consumption table

The table groans under an afternoon’s consumption. Photo by Markus Bell.

The man in the corner suddenly awakes and the waitress scuttles over to help carry him out.

Noryangjin fish market has a visceral feel that’s disappearing from Seoul’s street scene. It’s a piece of history that, once gone, all the Starbucks in the world won’t bring back.

It’s the odor, frenetic energy, auditory, visual, and somatic sensuality of the market that can’t be replicated. This is the life energy of Seoul’s working class, which transverses the history of modernizing Korea.

Bell Boarded up Market windows

Windows boarded up around the market. Photo by Markus Bell.

It won’t be long until the relocation is complete. Most vendors will move, displaced by regulated hours, American chain stores, and serious men in serious suits. The Noryangjin controversy will be forgotten.

The market will be mourned by people who remember what it was like to haggle for a mackerel, or to have their fingers clamped between the claws of a dissenting crab.

 

Markus Bell is a lecturer in the University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies. Follow him on Twitter: @mpsbell

Jieun Kim is a PhD candidate at Seoul National University. She can be contacted at: jminor@snu.ac.kr

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Filed under anthropology, anthropology of food, fish, Food Studies, markets

What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, August 23, 2016

A brief digest of food and nutrition-related items that caught our attention recently. Got items you think we should include? Send links and brief descriptions to dberiss@gmail.com or hunterjo@gmail.com.

Ramen is probably one of the most popular and familiar foods on the planet, as readers of Frederick Errington, Tatsuro Fujikura, and Deborah Gewertz’s 2013 book “The Noodle Narratives” know. The Guardian wrote about work by sociologist Michael Gibson-Light, who discusses how ramen have become prized commodities and a kind of currency in the U.S. prison system, where privatization and reduced government funding have resulted in less food available for inmates.

How do people make living conditions in refugee camps tolerable? This stunning article looks at conditions inside Yida, a refugee camp in South Sudan and tells the stories of women who have started restaurants there. Along with stories of survival and ingenuity, there are great details about food cultures, bureaucracy, and more, along with brilliant photography.

In the last few decades, Community Supported Agriculture has been seen by many as a model of how farmers and consumers can escape industrial agriculture. It helps small family farms thrive and provides consumers with better quality foods. At least, that is the idea. But is the model sustainable? This article from Small Farm Central examines recent data to argue that there are significant threats to the long-term success of the CSA model. The author also provides potential solutions.

When we subscribe to a CSA or shop at the farmers market, we often think that we are engaging in more ethical consumption. After all, what could be better than purchasing food from local producers? In this article, political scientist Margaret Gray calls attention to the working conditions farmworkers encounter even in small farms. Unless we pay attention and lobby for better laws and conditions, local may not always be very different from industrial farming, at least for workers.

Many people are aware that the monoculture of Cavendish bananas presents all sorts of problems, not the least of which is that the bananas themselves may disappear due to disease. Critics argue that there are better banana varieties out there, but finding ways for farmers to produce them and get them to market is difficult. Writer Aaron Thier makes an argument for a better banana and explains how to get it to market here.

Following the banana theme, Fabio Parasecoli provides a nicely educational review of the movie Sausage Party, which he suggests draws on tired old ethnic stereotypes and frat boy politics in an effort to explore the lives of grocery store products. He may not like the movie, but the review will provide you with a useful history on ethnicity, animated food, and bananas.

TGI Friday’s is changing its décor, from the antique-heavy jumble that you may have seen, to something more sleek and early 21st century. But where did the original style come from? This article from Collector’s Weekly explores the history of the antique décor phenomenon in American restaurants. Birth control, fern bars, Americana, and more…this is dense and surprising history. Where all the antiques come from…and where “decluttering” may lead.

If you read this blog, then you probably also watch a lot of very serious and high minded documentaries about food. They are all excellent, no doubt, and we watch them too (and sometimes recommend them in this column). So here is a parody of all of those films. There is a little gesture at the end that is killer.

Cookbooks are a great source for scholars who want to look at the way people think about food at any given moment or in particular places. If you are in New York City, you have until September 9 to see the exhibition “Nourishing Tradition: Jewish Cookbooks and the Stories they Tell” at the Center for Jewish History. Meanwhile, here is a brief but excellent article about the exhibition and the questions it raises.

Over at always-interesting-but-sometimes-cryptic Savage Minds, William Cotter and Mary-Caitlyn Valentinsson have written about the increasingly complex world of specialty coffee in the United States. They focus particular attention on issues of class and race. Worth a read, although your next cup of hipster-approved java may be a little more bitter after you do.

Looking for films to use in your classes this fall? Here is a list of nineteen films recommended by the folks at FoodTank (who love making lists even more than we do), some very serious, some quite fun.

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Food, Space, Place–Edited Volume

An intriguing call for papers of potential interest to FoodAnthropology readers:

Initial Call for Abstracts

Food, Space, Place–Edited Volume

Editor: Carlnita P. Greene, Ph.D.

Ranging from public markets and urban agriculture to food carts and mobile phones, today, the convergence between food, space, and place almost is taken for granted since it has become an ordinary facet of daily life. It is because these aspects are most central to our lives that it is crucial for us to understand the multifaceted ways in which food, space, and place shape our experiences and the meanings that we create about them. Yet, rather than examining these phenomena as separate or discrete entities, this edited volume explores the nexus of food/drink, space, and place, locally and globally. Both multi-and interdisciplinary in scope, its aim is to offer a broad array of theories, methods, and perspectives that can be used as lenses for analyzing the interconnections between food/drink, space, and place.

Therefore, I seek contributions from scholars in diverse fields, including the humanities, sciences, and/or social sciences, who are working in this area of research. Potential questions/topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How do food/drink, space, and place contribute to a multiplicity of human activities and experiences?
  • How do we engage with food/drink, space, and place both as individuals or within groups?
  • How do food/drink, space, and place shape performances, the senses, and/or embodied experiences?
  • How do we understand our relationships with food or drink as rooted within particular spaces/places?
  • How might our relationships to food/drink, space, and place shape our views of nature, the environment, and our natural resources?
  • How do we come to know and to understand ourselves through food/drink, space, and place?
  • How do food/drink, space, and place shape our relationships with others?

If you are interested in contributing a chapter, please e-mail me with a title, a short abstract of 300-500 words, your academic affiliation, and your contact information as an attachment (MS Word format). These materials should be sent to Carlnita P. Greene, University of Oregon,cgreene@uoregon.edu by September 18, 2016This is an initial call for abstracts.

All potential contributors will be notified of acceptance by October 9, 2016 and full manuscripts will be due on January 31, 2017. Additionally, although the project is in early stages, a publisher (whom I have worked with in the past) has expressed potential interest in publishing the book.

Please circulate this CFP to any colleagues who might be interested.

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, August 15 edition

Since I spend an inordinate amount of time reading about food, I thought it would be great to share articles that I’d been reading. The only problem with this plan is that I hear about many of my favourite food reads right here on the FoodAnthro (and that I unapologetically use British spelling). So you’ve guessed by now that I’m not Lauren or David. I’m new. My name is Jo Hunter-Adams, and I’m based at University of Cape Town (I’m South African, though I spent my twenties becoming Bostonian enough to follow the Red Sox from Cape Town). I’m going to be writing these columns every two weeks.

Please do help me by telling me about food stories that are interesting, informative or weird (or any other adjective you like). You can email me at hunterjo at gmail.com.

The Guardian wrote about Italy’s policy focused on allowing donated food. “But the move to encourage Italians to use doggy bags to take leftovers home from restaurants is perhaps one of the biggest cultural changes envisioned by the law. In many restaurants, and among many Italians, such requests are rare.”

The Conversation writes about the challenge of agricultural technology keeping pace with climate change , where the rapidity of temperature change sometimes means that by the time a new crop is ready to be used, the temperature has already changed too much for it to the advantage that the scientists were selecting for in the first place.

Corinna Hawkes argues in The Guardian that we need to break down some of the dichotomies around food supplies, in favour of a “diversity of approaches:”

A better food supply will be built by lots of small strategies in an overarching framework, not by any big single mega solution.

Here’s a South African article about bread, which is a main staple in poor communities, using a very familiar narrative about the value/morality of homemade food (while noting the limitations of those, particularly for a disabled baker):

Currently affordable bread is not sufficiently nutritious. One of the biggest challenges in poor communities in South Africa is a lack of education and knowledge about healthy bread. These communities will need to be taught about the nutritional value of stone-ground flour and bread baked using timeless, non-automated methods.

To borrow from Tolstoy: all good food is alike, but each bad food is bad in its own way. Irina Dimitrescu writes a fascinating article in The Atlantic about the subjectivity and fascination of “bad” food:

How many more scrumptious, luscious desserts, or meltingly tender meats can readers stand to hear about? How many more inspirational grandmas, tending to the stove? Badness, on the other hand, is specific and endlessly varied. There are so many culinary catastrophes, each one with its own individual meaning.

Is there anything in the world of food writing you especially enjoyed this week? Tell us about it.

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Review: Stirring the Pot

 

Cover of 'Stirring the Pot'

Stirring the Pot: A History of African Cuisine. James C. McCann. Ohio University Press. 2009

Mary B. Sundal
Washburn University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

As part of the Africa in World History series, Stirring the pot: A history of African cuisine by James C. McCann focuses on ingredients, meals, cooking, and cuisine as expressions of cultural identity. Contrary to popular (mis)conceptions about African foodways as a constant source of economic struggle, McCann explores food in African history “as a creative composition at the heart of all cultural expressions of ourselves as humans” (p. 2). To do so, McCann relies on primary historical resources, and work from geographers (e.g., Judith Carney), anthropologists (e.g., Audrey Richards), and novelists (e.g., Chinua Achebe) to provide readers with the rich sensory experience of African food. Furthermore, he weaves in contemporary recipes, and not just those found in cookbooks but “recipes” he collected from African cooks. Women described the basic ingredients necessary for a particular dish and the sensory experience of cooking and tasting. “She uses onomatopoeia (tuk tuk) to suggest the sounds made by the bubbling stew when it reaches its proper consistency. She uses her hands to indicate amounts and how to stir or to taste. In other words, to tell you how to make the dish, she has to show you using sounds and gestures. Written words convey little of the true sense of how to cook shiro wet sauce” (p. 85). It is in these descriptions that I found McCann’s illumination of the cultural aspect of food and cooking to be the most effective.

Stirring the Pot covers a hefty array of food related topics, which proves to be both the book’s strength and weakness. In part one, “basic ingredients,” McCann describes the availability of ingredients during precolonial and colonial times to show how these foodstuffs became staples in African cooking pots. Chapter two provides a great resource—one that could easily be incorporated an Anthropology of Food or Peoples and Cultures of Africa university course—on the cultural importance and environmental requirements of starchy staples including African grains such as finger millet, teff, and indigenous yams as well as New World grains, mostly importantly maize.

Turning away from African foodstuffs broadly, part two traces the development of Ethiopian highland cuisine to a specific event:  Queen Taytu’s feast in 1887. “The feast was thus one of the first acts that presented the new center of the Ethiopian state and its assertion of a site from which Menilek (and Taytu) sought to build a new political culture and claim a new national identity” (p. 71-72). McCann convincingly argues that Taytu’s feast was the point at which a national cuisine emerged in Ethiopia. While I truly enjoyed reading part two—especially the detailed descriptions of Taytu’s role as a female cook, household manager, and political leader—this section seems a bit disjointed from the rest of the text and could have been expanded into an entire text on its own.

The third part of the book, “Africa’s cooking: Some common ground of culture and cuisine” returns our attention to the history of West Africa, the central and southern maize belt, and maritime coasts. McCann argues that unlike in Ethiopia, the rest of sub-Saharan Africa does not have clear national cuisines but “broader patterns of cooking and signature foods the connect regions” (p. 107). Through a description of the cultural variation of starchy food preparation and consumption, McCann effectively shows how cultural diffusion—through intra-continental trade, the Atlantic slave trade, and colonialism—altered food habits and daily sustenance but did not eliminate core characteristics of West African diets. Much of the data for McCann’s argument comes from two female anthropologists, Margaret Field and Audrey Richards, who examined women’s contributions to daily sustenance by recording (and publishing) the oral traditions of food preparation. The second section in part three details the influence of culture contact on local women’s interpretations of diet throughout the maize belt. McCann here tackles how maize became the “food of choice” replacing sorghum, millet, and rice in African cooking pots. In addition, McCann categorizes the various relishes, or vegetable sauces, African women used to complement maize porridge. Again, McCann relies quite heavily on anthropological sources for these accounts, making part three particularly attractive for use in anthropology courses.

The final part of the book examines diaspora cuisine as two waves of culture contact:  the Atlantic slave trade and African emigration to the New World since the 1970s. McCann provides a host of recipes to compare African American, Creole, Brazilian, and Caribbean cooking to their West African counterparts. In this section McCann also returns to the thread of a national cuisine as Ethiopian fare appears to be the most popular African cuisine (re)produced in the New World.

Stirring the pot: A history of African cuisine is an informative book and is suitable for a diverse audience, including anthropologists interested in food preparation and consumption both across the African continent and in the diaspora. While the underlying theme of food as a living history of culture change is evident throughout the text, the four parts of the book have a very broad focus making the text more episodic than a thorough examination of one topic. However, the diversity of topics adeptly meets the African in World History series’ goals of making African history accessible to secondary students, university students, and general readers to “stimulate further inquiry and comparison” (p. xi).

 

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Filed under Africa, anthropology, anthropology of food, cooking, cuisine

Post Doc: Dietary transitions in Ghanaian cities

Post Doc Opportunity that may interest FoodAnthropology readers:

PROJECT INFORMATION 

Title of project: Dietary transitions in Ghanaian citiesmapping the factors in the social and physical food environments that drive consumption of energy dense nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods and beverages, to identify interventions targeting women and adolescent girls throughout the reproductive life course.

Project objectives: To examine factors in social and physical food environments of African cities that drive consumption of EDNP foods and beverages, and harness this understanding to develop interventions to reduce their consumption.

Institutions Involved:

Full name of lead organization: University of Sheffield, UK

Name and title of project director: Professor Michelle Holdsworth School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield,

Setting:

Two Ghanaian cities of different stages of transition: provincial city (Ho), and capital city (Accra).

Study population:

Women/adolescent girls living in lower wealth quintile neighborhoods at four key stages of the reproductive life course: i. Early adolescence (13-14y) not pregnant or breastfeeding; ii. Pregnancy (15-49y); iii. Breastfeeding (15-49y); and iv. Women/older adolescents not breastfeeding or pregnant (15-49y). Community informants and national stakeholders will also be interviewed.

Proposed methods:

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to examine factors in the social and physical food environments that drive consumption of EDNP foods and beverages: longitudinal qualitative interviews with women/adolescent girls including 24hr recall and Photovoice; Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping; and a photography exhibition.

Project duration – 24 months

Proposed start date – November 2016

Number of postdoc positions: Two, a 24 month, and a 12 month – available; start date Nov 2016.

Potential Candidates at this stage should email their CV (including referees) and statement of research interests to the following contacts:

Dr. Amos Laar, University of Ghana, School of Public Health, Accra, Ghana.  Email: alaar@ug.edu.gh or amos.laar@gmail.com

More information about the conditions for the postdoc will be included in the official advert.

Deadline for submission of pre-application expression of interest:  September 5 2016.

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