Category Archives: AAA

2017 Christine Wilson Award Winners!

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Christine Wilson Awards. These awards are presented to outstanding undergraduate and graduate student research papers that examine topics within the perspectives of nutrition, food studies, and anthropology. Award winners each receive a check from SAFN and a free one-year membership in the American Anthropological Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. Of course, they also receive fame and glory.

The award committee this year was led by SAFN Vice-President Amy Trubek.

The awards will be officially presented to the winners at the SAFN reception during the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, December 1, 2017, from 7:45-9:00 pm, in Washington DC. In coming days, we will be posting more information about the upcoming meeting, so watch this space!

For now, congratulations to Sarah Howard, a PhD candidate in anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London and to Kate Rhodes, an anthropology major at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota, for the two winning Christine Wilson Award papers. Their paper titles and abstracts are below.

Coffee and the State in Rural Ethiopia
Sarah Howard

Although coffee is enjoyed for the material qualities of its taste, smell and stimulant effect, it is the social and symbolic aspects of coffee drinking that make it central to daily life in Ethiopia. Based on research in eastern Amhara Region between 2011 and 2015, the paper explores the buna ceremony during which coffee is prepared and served, and its role in the lives of rural government workers. Starting with an interest in the disconnect between the reach and control that the Ethiopian government is popularly supposed to hold over its citizens and the lived reality of low-level state workers who are charged with exerting this control, I realised that coffee consumption could be a useful lens through which to review received ideas about state power and hierarchy. While Ethiopian society is commonly portrayed as highly authoritarian with a vertical power structure, this paper shows, through the medium of coffee practices, a range of forms of sociality between government workers and farmers, encompassing closeness and trust as well as highlighting the material and social disadvantages faced by the bureaucrats, complicating the picture of a strict divide between state and society. The kin-like social relations that are built between state employees through buna drinking help to mitigate their vulnerability, as well as build a space for them to critically reflect on their position in ‘producing the nation’. This paper is thus a contribution to calls for attention to the ways in which material practices, such as coffee drinking, continually constitute the state as a reality.

Having a Steak in the Matter: Gender in the Buenos Aires Asado
Kate Rhodes

Asados have their roots in the romanticized culture of the Argentine gauchos, or cattle herders, where men, free from the confines of urban life, could express their masculinity through cooking meat outside over an open fire. These macho characteristics have reinforced the notion that asados are a masculine activity. In this paper I address why it is that women cook on a daily basis, but the gastronomic identity of Argentina is rooted in the single dish men traditionally cook. I argue that the culturally accepted deviation from the historically feminine kitchen space can be explained through the symbolic importance of male interactions with meat throughout Argentine history, the construction of a masculine meat narrative, and a media that sustains traditional culinary gender norms. I break the concept of a masculine meat narrative down into the three factors that work to define meat as male, mainly the physical characteristics of an asado that link it to the time of the gauchos: fire, cooking outdoors, and the primitive manipulation of bloody meat. I supplement a review of the literature on this subject with opinions and anecdotes from informants which illuminate trends in perceptions of masculinity from both men and women. I conclude that the recent push for gender equality in Argentina, specifically the rise of the Ni Una Menos movement to end gender violence, is mirrored in asado culture, as women publicly take to the parrilla.

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Size Matters: How Semiotics is Making History in the World of Wine

Kerri Lesh
University of Nevada, Reno

A “historic milestone” for the Spanish wine-making region of Rioja has been making headlines in the wine world. A new labeling strategy was approved that will shape the way producers from Rioja can market their wine after the 2017 harvest. This decision illustrates the efforts that have been made on behalf of the Asociación de Bodegas de Rioja Alavesa (ABRA) to differentiate the wines of the Basque zone of Rioja Alavesa, and will now apply to all producers in the Rioja wine-making Designation of Origen (DOC).

On August 11, the decision was made by the Regulatory Board of Rioja DOC to allow for wines to be labeled by “zona”(zone) and “villa”(town or municipality), as well as “viñedos singulares” or single vineyard wine. This ruling comes after more than forty bodegas had been working to develop a new Designation of Origin (DO), called Viñedos de Álava or, in Basque, Arabako Mahastiak. The latest decision has, then, been made to halt the efforts to create the Alavesa label, and to allow the DOC of Rioja to follow through with its new agreement.

The Vice President of ABRA, Carlos Fernández, commented on the Dastatu Rioja Alavesa blog that, “This began many years ago with the demand for a font size to acknowledge the distinct subzones of the Rioja DOC.” Up until now, the permitted subzones, now simply called “zones,” had to be displayed using a smaller font size than that of the larger “Rioja” DOC indication. The three zones–Alta, Alavesa, and Baja (the latter recently changed to Oriental or “Eastern”)–can now be listed in a font equal in size to that of the larger designation of “Rioja.”

rioja lobel

Bottle label from Ostatu displaying the previous font specifications

Bittor Oroz, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fishing, and Food Policy for the Basque Government, expands on the importance of making “place” more visible by referencing the concept of terroir, as stated in Noticias de Alava:

“People look for the origin of the wine they consume, they want to link it to the terroir…they are looking for something more than just the quality of the product, but rather the story behind the wine, the histories that lie behind a glass, and being able to focus in on a particular bodega, on the places where it is cultivated and produced.  Because of that, it is important to identify those spaces and give them their due value.”

The importance of this new agreement highlights the challenges of selling wine within various markets, in such a way whereby identity and traceability are not lost. This particular use of semiotics is in part driven by the producers’ and consumers’ desire for a unique, traceable, and well-marketed wine.

A portion of my research in the Basque Country entails the observation of how semiotics and the concept of terroir are implemented in marketing local gastronomic products.  Alongside Anne Lally, I have co-organized and chaired the panel titled Taste and Terroir as Anthropological Matter. This panel will be featured at the annual American Anthropological Association meeting, to be held this November in Washington D.C.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns at kerri.lesh@gmail.com.

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Robert M. Netting Best Student Paper Prize

Check out this opportunity for money and publication from our friends at the C&A section of the AAA’s for their student paper competitions. Feel free to apply or pass onto to your students!

The Culture and Agriculture section of the American Anthropological Association invites anthropology graduate and undergraduate students to submit papers for the 2017 Robert M. Netting Award. The graduate and undergraduate winners will receive cash awards of $750 and $250, respectively, and have the opportunity for a direct consultation with the editors of our section’s journal, CAFÉ (Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment), toward the goal of revising the winning papers for publication. Submissions should draw on relevant literature from any subfield of Anthropology and present data from original research related to livelihoods based on crop, livestock, or fishery production, forestry, and/or management of agricultural and environmental resources. Papers should be single-authored, limited to a maximum of 7,000 words, including endnotes, appendices, and references, and should follow Chicago format style.

Papers already published or accepted for publication are not eligible. Only one submission per student is allowed. Submitters need not be members of the American Anthropological Association but they must be enrolled students (Note: students graduating in the Spring or Summer of 2017 will also be eligible). The submission deadline is September 1st, 2017 and all submissions should be sent to Nicholas C. Kawa via email at nckawa@gmail.com

 

If you would like to post a CFP on the blog, please contact Ruth Dike.

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VOTE!

David Beriss

The time has come to vote in the annual AAA elections. (And this posting is not about food, apologies to non-anthropology readers.)

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is a section of the American Anthropological Association, the main professional organization for anthropologists in the United States. If you are a SAFN member, you are also a AAA member. And that means you should vote.

Anthropologists are often heard complaining about the AAA, about positions it takes or positions it does not take, on issues that concern them. We have had fierce debates in recent years over the AAA’s position on Israel/Palestine, on open access publishing, and on a few other issues. We need even more fierce debates about the increasingly awful working conditions in public higher education, about the place of the social sciences in the public sphere, and much more.

One of the best ways to make all this happen is to participate in governance of the AAA. As it turns out, nearly everything the AAA does is the result of work by elected members. And the first thing you can do to make things happen is to vote.

Which you can do now. If you are a AAA member in good standing, visit this site. Follow the instructions.

There are association-wide ballots and section ballots. SAFN is voting for a treasurer and for a change in our by-laws (the details are on the ballot).

You have until May 31, 2017 to vote. Only by participating can you make the AAA an effective voice for anthropology and anthropologists. Do not miss your chance.

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AAA CFP Last Call // Sedimentation: Extraction, Soil and Memory

Sedimentation: Extraction, Soil and Memory

(seeking papers re: Agriculture, Food Commodities)

Co-organizers:

Serena Stein, PhD Candidate, Princeton University

Andrew Ofstehage, PhD Candidate, UNC-Chapel Hill

 

Land is often mobilized discursively as wastelands (Voyles, 2015) or zones of hidden potential and promise for capitalist development (Yeh, 2013) to justify frontier expansions worldwide. Land, landscapes and soil are also increasingly recognized as powerful actors in agrarian narratives and encounters, as agentive materials that help create their own history and futures (Kawa, 2016). This panel centers upon the encounters, memories, and afterlives of soil, putting forward the analytic of ‘sedimentation’ to recognize, reconsider and unsettle the dust upon which we tread in so-called development contexts of extraction. In particular, sedimentation, as a social analytic, aims to rethink processes and potential shapes of accumulation in extractive spaces, in terms of strata (tempo, order, verticality); accretion (formation, connection, growth); and provenience (origins, indigeneity, and future archaeologies) of resources taken from the earth, as well as the (im)material objects, spaces, imaginaries, and discursive remains.  Presenters will draw on multi-species and actor/non-actor encounters (Haraway, 2007; Ingold, 2000; Raffles, 2002; Tsing, 2015), materiality of things (Stoler, 2016; Bennett 2010), and memories and afterlives of land and soil encounters (Gordillo, 2014) to examine the placeness, temporalities and relationalities of encounters in and through land, with attention to disparate histories, political projects, and livelihoods in the Global South that help to constitute the material and narrative lives of soil.

Submit paper abstracts to Serena (serenas@princeton.edu) or Andrew (aofste@live.unc.edu) no later than 12 pm (ES) Thursday, April 13th.

 

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CFP on Waste Materialities & Meaning

AAA 2017 CFP

Session Title: Waste Materialities & Meaning: Anthropological Engagements with Reuse, Repair and Care

 

Organizers:

Cindy Isenhour, University of Maine

Anna Bohlin, University of Gothenburg

Staffan Appelgren, University of Gothenburg

 

 

The recent international focus on circular economies – which purport to reimagine waste as a resource rather than a market externality – has engaged scholars from multiple disciplines in the exploration of reuse as a tool for climate mitigation, reduced materials use and resource conservation.  This is certainly a positive development given the impact of contemporary production-consumption systems on humans and non-humans alike.  At the same time, anthropological engagements with so-called “waste” (garbage, rubbish, discards) raise questions about the novelty of the circular economy concept. Anthropology has already illustrated the deeply relational, situated and cultural entanglements implied in the determination of “resource,” “value,” and “waste”.  From ethnographies featuring innovative reuse among resource-strapped communities (Nguyen 2016) and garbage pickers on the margins of Brazilian society (Millar 2008) to sanitary workers in New York City (Nagle 2014), or among connoisseurs of thrift shops and vintage goods (Isenhour 2012), anthropology has long demonstrated the not-so-novel concept of informal circular economies in action.  Perhaps more importantly, anthropological engagements have helped to illustrate the materiality and generative capacity of “abandoned things” as they fundamentally shape social relations, our collective sense of memory and heritage, as well as human and non-human nature(Reno 2015). What is perhaps new about today’s circular economy imaginaries is that they signal the growing commodification and formalization of waste and reuse practices, raising important questions about the potential gentrification of reuse, and potential exclusion, as well as the shifting relationality of reuse to capitalist markets given projections of the “end of cheap nature” (Schindler and Demaria 2017, Moore 2015).   This panel seeks to both critically and productively engage with long-standing and emergent efforts to “save waste” through repair, care and reuse.  We seek contributions that engage theory and ethnographic detail to explore a wide variety of questions and themes with relevance to the meaning and materiality of reuse including, but not limited to, the following:

 

  • How waste and residual value are variously and situationally determined
  • How discarded goods or “abandoned things” circulate in space and across scales
  • How posthumanist perspectives can provide novel ways of conceptualizing human-object relations in contexts of reuse
  • The generative capacity of reuse to shape/reshape livelihoods, waste infrastructures and materials markets
  • Everyday practices of maintenance, repair and care – as processes of reuse
  • The potential of reuse markets and practices to bring transformative change (or variously, another individualist and niche market-based movement)

 

If interested, please send an abstract to Cindy Isenhour (cynthia.isenhour@maine.edu) by Friday, April 7th.  We’ll get back to you no later than Monday, April 10th so that we can submit the panel prior to the AAA deadline of Friday, April 14th.

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New Call for Paper’s Website Section

M. Ruth Dike

University of Kentucky

In an effort to centralize Call for Paper’s for the upcoming American Anthropological Association (AAA) annual meeting, we have created a new Call for Paper’s section of the website! This will be a place where anyone can browse CFP’s related to the anthropology of food for the upcoming AAA meetings. If we see Call for Paper’s that are relevant to the anthropology of food, we will first post them on the blog and then on the CFP’s section of the website.

2017_AAA Meeting

We hope to also post CFP’s for other conferences such as ASFS/AFHV in the future.

If you see a CFP relevant to the anthropology of food, please send it to mruthdike@uky.edu to be posted on the blog and/or our listserv. The deadline for AAA Invited and Volunteered Panel, Individual Paper, Roundtable Sessions and Poster Submissions is Friday, April 14th, 2017 at 5 pm EDT, so please send in any relevant CFP’s in ASAP!

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