Author Archives: kellyfoodanth

About kellyfoodanth

Cultural Anthropology Duke University SAFN Interim Student Rep

AAA CFP: Environmental Worlds

fruit-seller-776158_640Call for Papers
AAA Annual Meeting
11/ 29-12/ 3, 2017
Washington, D.C.
Environmental Worlds: Between Craft and Emergence
Organizers: Mackenzie Cramblit (Duke) and John Moran (Stanford)
Discussant: TBD
How do environments matter, and how do they matter us? This panel proposes to consider engagements with environments as properly world-making practices. Planting and leveling forests, preserving and eradicating species, constructing dams, spraying pesticides, building strip malls, picking mushrooms, dumping toxic waste, cleaning houses: by working in, on, and with environments, human beings also give rise to the atmospheres – or environmental worlds – that in turn work on all of us (Choy and Zee 2015). The topic of this panel is precisely the interplay between the artful, a/im/moral, and frequently destructive labor of environmental craft, and the necessarily excessive (Bataille 1988) quality of environments themselves: the ways that they surprise, transcend, and overwhelm us. Thus, we propose to consider environmental world-making as a creative process (Bergson 1937; Pandian 2015; McLean 2009) of multiple, ambiguous, and always more-than-human (Whatmore 2006) unfoldings.

Environments are constituted but also constituting worlds. It takes effort to design, build, and manage environments, but ultimately we are susceptible to the structures of this making. We experience environments not so much through disembodied abstractions of mastery and control (Haraway 1991; Traweek 1992; cf. Shapin and Schaffer 1985), but through sensorial modalities of surrender, immersion, and absorption (Brennan 2004; Hayward 2010; Schüll 2012; Murphy 2006; Stewart 2011; Solomon 2016). While phenomenology has traditionally favored cognitive modes of perception, this panel seeks to reengage the full sensorium of worldly and embodied experience: not only discrete sensations like taste, touch, and sound (Basso and Feld 1996; Hayward 2012; Serres 2008; Stoller 1989) but also more ethereal and less articulate impressions of vibes, affect, and energy. Building on recent scholarship that stages the intersections of bodies and environments through the motif of multispecies  encounters (Haraway 2008; Kirksey 2014; Nading 2014; Ogden 2011; Paxson 2012; Tsing 2015), this panel seeks to evoke the qualities, sensations, and moods that emerge within such entanglements.

We invite ethnographic papers that engage the “conjectures, trials, and difficult lessons” of crafting and dissolving within “a larger universe beyond the human” through attention to image and sensation, rhythm and tempo, desire, light, color, and other qualities (Pandian 2015). Of course this is not a uniquely celebratory occasion: atmospheres are quite often deadly in their liveliness, and we particularly welcome submissions whose stories dwell in that ambiguity. In using the term environment generously here, we hope to inspire you to offer your own interpretations, and to initiate a broader conversation about the analytic purchase of “environmental” thinking.

Please submit your 250-word abstract to Mackenzie and John by 5 p.m. on April 9, 2017. We will notify those who have been selected by 5 p.m. on April 10.

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New Interim Student Rep

Kelly Alexander
Duke University

Dear SAFN members: For the last three years, I have enjoyed the sense of community that Kelly Zuster Agnesleaps off the screen along with the scholarship on this blog. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce myself as the interim SAFN student rep. Qualifying me for this role are the years I spent as a food journalist (I was an editor at Food & Wine and Saveur, and have written about food for other consumer publications) and the three years I’ve spent as a doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology at Duke, where I study materiality and its entanglements with affect. My articles about food traditions and obsessions cover everything from a long-forgotten food writer who codified “American” cuisine to the significance of colorful Fiestaware plates for cooks in the South. My current research is on still-edible food waste in the EU; I work in the kitchen of an haute cuisine restaurant, in a soup kitchen, and in a food bank. In my new role for SAFN, I have three objectives:

– liaise with student members and give voice to their concerns
– coordinate student activities at the ASFS and AAA conferences.
– contribute to this blog and invite other students to do so

In the coming weeks you’ll hear even more from me about those objectives. For now, two requests:

If you’re a student: I’d love to encourage folks to submit proposals for AAA as soon as possible—this way our program committee can help place papers with panels.: If you have a paper, we’ll try to place you—I’m a pretty good matchmaker.

If you’re a senior scholar: Wouldn’t you like to invite a grad student to participate in your panel? Variety, youth, they’re both great additions. Please let us know so we can help pair you with just the right junior scholar.

For all: I’m here to explore the possibility of poster sessions and mentoring/networking events. If you’d like to see some of those, especially if you’d like to participate, please let me know soonest. Non-traditional sessions and events for our members would be most welcome.

Questions? Concerns? Email me, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. A few random facts about myself: I live in Chapel Hill, NC, with my partner and young sons; things I like include dirty martinis, sour cherries, spicy Sichuan soft-shell crabs, M.F.K. Fisher, and Sidney Mintz.


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