Category Archives: awards

APLA Book Prize Announcement

From our colleagues at the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, a book prize competition that may be of interest to SAFN members and other readers of this blog:

The Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) is pleased to invite nominations for the 2017 APLA Book Prize competition. The association will recognize work that best exemplifies creativity and rigor in the ethnographic exploration of politics, law, and/or their interstices.

Nominated books must be published in English during 2016. Books may be nominated by the author(s), the press, or an APLA member. Nominations must be accompanied by a nominating letter. Send the letter and a copy of the nominated book no later than May 1, 2017 directly to each of the APLA book prize committee members.

For more information on the APLA Book Prize along with submission and eligibility requirements, please visit: https://politicalandlegalanthro.org/2017/02/13/2017-apla-book-prize/.

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ASFS Student Paper Awards

Students! Check out these awards for undergraduate and graduate essays from the Association for the Study of Food and Society. These are great opportunities for fame and recognition. If you have been studying and writing about food and have an essay, you should submit it. A brief summary is below, along with a link to the web site with complete details on how to apply. The deadline is February 1, 2017.

The ASFS invites current undergraduate and graduate students to submit a paper for the William Whit (undergraduate) and Alex McIntosh (graduate) prizes, respectively. These awards recognize students’ contributions to the field of food studies. There will be one award each for an undergraduate student paper and a graduate student paper. ASFS welcomes submissions on a wide range of issues relating to food, society and culture, and from the diverse disciplinary and trans-disciplinary fields that ASFS encompasses. The author of each award-winning paper will receive:

  • $500
  • payment of annual membership and conference fees to be applied to the following year if student is not attending in the current year
  • a free banquet ticket for the coming year’s annual meeting or the following year’s if a ticket has already been purchased or the student is not attending the conference in the current year; and
  • the opportunity to present prize-winning papers at an ASFS/AFHVS conference. Winners who wish to present the year they receive their award must have submitted a conference abstract in that same year.

Please note

  • Authors are highly encouraged to simultaneously submit an abstract to the ASFS/AFHVS conference by the conference deadline. Conference organizers cannot add your paper to an already completed program; you MUST submit an abstract by the deadline.
  • Prize winning papers may be presented at an ASFS/AFHVS conference within two years of award. Those prize winners who submit a conference abstract in the subsequent two years, should indicate their award status (year and name of award) with the abstract.
  • Prize winners may also postpone their registration and banquet ticket use for one year following the award.

Deadline for Annual Submission (all required material): February 1. NO Exceptions! Electronic submissions ONLY!

For complete details, visit this site.

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Christine Wilson Award Winner, Part II

Yesterday we announced this year’s winner of the 2016 Christine Wilson Undergraduate Award and today we are proud to announce the winner of the 2016 Christine Wilson Graduate Award.This award goes to outstanding research papers by graduate students writing from the various perspectives embraced by Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, including nutrition, food studies and ethnography.

Congratulations to Imogen Bevan, from the University of Edinburgh, winner of this year’s graduate Christine Wilson Award, for her essay “Care is Meat and Tatties, Not Curry.” Her bio and an abstract for her essay are below.

Quick reminder: if you are a student who will be writing food research essays, consider applying next year!

The awards will be formally presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, this week, in Minneapolis! Please attend the SAFN reception, award ceremony, and distinguished speaker event on Saturday evening (11/19) to learn more about the winners and the awards. That will start at 7:45pm in room 101A.

Bio

Imogen Bevan is a postgraduate student in medical anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. Imogen has conducted ethnographic research in France and in Britain, focusing on experiences of the body and examining how different substances are incorporated through social practices. During her master’s in social anthropology at the University of Lyon, Imogen participated in a joint program with the University of Amsterdam, becoming a junior researcher on Anita Hardon’s ChemicalYouth team. Her published ethnographic work examines people’s lived experiences of smoking and e-cigarette use in France, and the socialities that emerge through engagements with non-medicalised forms of substitution. This study experimented with sensory and creative visual methods to explore what technologies and substances might do for their users in social context.

Imogen’s master’s dissertation at Edinburgh and projected PhD research explore the role of sugar in social relationships in Scotland. This research asks how the value of sugar consumption is produced through everyday practices in different contexts of consumption, at a time when global health institutions denounce sugar’s nutritional ‘emptiness’ and aetiological role in the onset of obesity, diabetes type 2 and dental disease.

Imogen’s interests include anthropology of the body, sensory anthropology, health and well-being, kinship studies, and visual methods.

Abstract

Care is Meat and Tatties, Not Curry

This paper examines the way care is enacted by members of a Church of Scotland congregation through food provision and food preparation practices in Edinburgh. This ethnography compares three activities: The Foodbank, an informal weekly food distribution, and a non-profit café, sited in the parish church’s halls. Exploring an informant’s assertion that the church does not give people “any old food”, I chart the lives of different foods as they travel from supermarket shelves to church storage rooms, as they are transformed into emergency parcels, a hot meal, or iced display cakes – in the aim of improving the well-being of members of the community.

While the Trussel Trust’s standardised Foodbank guidelines are calculated in terms of dietary values, my study shows that in order to provide care, congregation members also work with other values – the palatability, familiarity, practicality, aesthetic and monetary values of food, eaters’ dignity, individual taste preferences and cooking technologies, as well as volunteers’ available time and physical safety. Some overlapped seamlessly, others clashed.  In all three settings, food-related care emerges as an ongoing compromise between competing contextual motives – a practice involving attention to detail, adjustments and extensive and tinkering.

Congregation members’ adjustable care goes beyond the marginalised individual. Through food, people are also caring for the survival of their church as a relevant institution, and its halls as a ‘living’ building. By grappling with what they see as the dangers of lack of money, lack of social interaction, or lack of culinary knowledge, congregation members ground their church within national and local networks, assigning the church an active role in changing community.

Written as an essay for a MSc ethnographic methods class, this study was conducted as exploratory fieldwork for my projected PhD research, which examines the value of sugar consumption in social relationships in urban Scotland.

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Christine Wilson Award Winner, Part I

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is pleased to announce the winners for our annual Christine Wilson prize. This prize goes to outstanding research papers by undergraduate and graduate students writing from the various perspectives embraced by Society, including nutrition, food studies and ethnography. This year we received submissions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil. All the submissions were excellent. SAFN Vice President Amy Trubek organized the whole process this year and deserves our gratitude for a job well done, along with all the readers of the papers.

It is time, by the way, to start thinking about next year. We encourage submissions for next year’s prize (due July 1, 2017). See the links above for details.

Today we are announcing our undergraduate prize winner. We will announce the graduate prize winner tomorrow.

The awards will be formally presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, this week, in Minneapolis! Please attend the SAFN reception, award ceremony, and distinguished speaker event on Saturday evening (11/19) to learn more about the winners and the awards. That will start at 7:45pm in room 101A.

Cynthia Baur, of Dickinson College, won this year’s undergraduate award with an essay on the local food movement in Carlisle, PA. Here is her bio and paper abstract:

Bio:

My name is Cynthia Baur and I am from Greensburg, PA. I graduated from Dickinson College in May 2016 with a BA in Anthropology with a self-declared focus in Nutritional Anthropology. My research interests developed while taking a course of the same title during my sophomore year. It was during my sophomore year that I also began working at the Dickinson Farm as a student farmer. My interest in farming continued into the following summer when I travelled to Tanzania with the Dickinson Anthropology Department to participate in an ethnographic field school in which I studied subsistence farming. During my junior year I added to my cross-cultural food experience by studying at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy through food studies program. In my senior year I delved into the local food movement in Carlisle by becoming a board member for the local farmers’ market and by becoming a work-share member at a nearby farm. I am currently an apprentice at the Dickinson Farm and next year I will be continuing on as a second year apprentice.

Abstract:

An Analysis of the Local Food Movement in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

In this paper I critically analyze the local food movement in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. I argue that the local food movement is a response to a global, industrialized neoliberal food system. Consumers seek out a more personal alternative to anonymous industrially produced food. I use my own ethnographic work, such as interviews with farmers and participant observation at the farmers’ market, to understand the motivations of participating producers and consumers in Central Pennsylvania. I find that the local food movement in this area is not successful at giving all consumers access to local, healthy, and sustainable food. Individual participants are responding to a call to “vote” with their dollars to try to create change that will alter the entire food system. However, they are unsuccessful because they are acting within their individual capitalist identities. In addition, not all consumers have an equal opportunity to “vote” and the rhetoric often ignores certain components of food production, such as labor, adding to the elitism of the movement. Participants need to recognize the privilege and elitism that exists within the movement. While the local food movement may be unsuccessful at meeting all of its goals on its own, it is still a valuable component of a multi-level strategy for creating change within the food system.

 

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Mezcal: Hybrid Authentication

The third in our series of abstracts of papers submitted for SAFN’s annual Christine Wilson Award. Winners have been selected and will be recognized at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. From Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet, this one raises important questions about what, exactly, is being preserved in efforts to insure that foods maintain their “authenticity.”

Mezcal: Hybrid Authentication

Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet
University of Vermont

How can foodways thrive in a global market and still maintain their local characters? In January 2016, students from the UVM Food Systems Graduate Program went to Oaxaca, Mexico to study such challenges. During our stay, we met Adolfo who showed us the art of making “authentic” mezcal, that iconic drink of the Mexican terroir some say has the potential to provide the economic incentives needed to repopulate Oaxacan communities impacted by outmigration. This micro-macro analysis deconstructs the “authenticity” dimension of mezcal production, to expose authenticity as a flexible social construct that resembles social branding. By incorporating ethnographic elements, the authenticity branding is coupled with Adolfo’s hybrid approach of production to suggest a way to foster community economic development: concurrently producing a hand-made, “authentic” mezcal for locals and tourists visiting Oaxaca, and another that is scaled-up to capitalize on the global market economic opportunities by convincingly putting the “authentic” Mexican terroir in the people’s mouths around the world. This paper argues that in order to protect Adolfo’s foodways, the aim should not focus at preserving mezcal itself, but primarily at preserving communities where mezcal is produced, and that the mezcal denomination of origin (DO) should be reformed accordingly.

mezcal-production

“Authentic” Mezcal Production: Mezcaleros cutting cooked agave piñas. In the background the open vessels made of an entire cow hide where the crushed piñas are mixed with water for the fermentation process.

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What Else Ho Reha Hai? Reflections On My Fieldwork Website

Several of us here at the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition recently had the pleasure of reviewing submissions for our annual Christine Wilson Award. Winners have been selected and will be recognized at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. It is common to say all the submissions were great, but, in fact, they were and we want to call attention to that fact by publishing abstracts of all submissions. This is the second abstract from the competition we are posting (the first one is here). This one comes from Abby Golub and reflects on fieldwork in a bakery in Belgium. One of the more striking features of this particular research is the use of various kinds of media, from a blog to videos. There is a link to some of that below.

What Else Ho Reha Hai? Reflections on my Fieldwork Website

Abby Golub
KU Leuven

This paper analyses the effectiveness of a website to display and develop fieldwork about a bakery. As it stands, the website was published before the bakery declared bankruptcy, and conveniently avoids mention of conflicts with the boss, making mistakes, hierarchy, gender, and how the bread is pleasant to make but not my favorite to eat. Despite these omissions, the website serves as a celebration of friendship and optimism. It accurately portrays my daily experience in the privileged position of an international, part-time student-worker and anthropologist. Videos of the baking process couched within a recipe immerse viewers in virtual field notes. Analytic entries explain the significance of language and timing in the bakery. The name of the website itself, “Pistolet Baking Ho Reha Hai,” means “Pistolet Baking is Happening,” and was inspired by my colleague’s singing. This name demonstrates the use of primarily Hindi grammar mixed with the English word “baking” and French word “Pistolet” applied in a Flemish context, here meaning “bread roll.” To facilitate daily communication, bakers often repeated ideas and instruction in different languages or in singing voice. This language use, friendly interaction, and learning appear front and center in the videos. Ideally the website will launch further sharing and reflection on diverse work experiences.

Please enjoy, and email me or comment directly if you have input or questions at this web site.

golub-at-bakery

Author engaged in participant observation (Photo by Jeet Sherpa)

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The SCOBY Schism

Several of us here at the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition recently had the pleasure of reviewing submissions for our annual Christine Wilson Award. Winners have been selected and will be recognized at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. It is common to say all the submissions were great, but, in fact, they were and we want to call attention to that fact by publishing abstracts of all submissions. We are starting with a paper that reflects on the growing enthusiasm for fermentation in the U.S. and, in this case, the intersection of biology and culture encountered in the world of kombucha brewing. Erika Kelly, who is an undergraduate, wrote a paper that demonstrated a grasp of the relevant literature one might expect from a graduate student and that raised great questions about the home fermentation movement. Her paper’s abstract is below.

 The SCOBY Schism: Rethinking Self and Space with Home-Brewed Kombucha

Erika L. Kelly
The University of Chicago

Over the past ten years fermentation, specifically the making of kombucha, has experienced an upsurge in the U.S., especially among health enthusiasts and food activists. Portrayed as a lifestyle by its practitioners, kombucha-making is supported both as a means of returning to culinary and ecological roots and as a product of modern nutritional science knowledge.

ek-kombucha

Kombucha Culture Up Close. Photo by Erika Kelly.

Online social media platforms surrounding the practice reveal that kombucha is highly variable due to the biological liveliness of the beverage. Practitioners use these social media sites to collaborate, sharing and receiving experiential knowledge that guides their practice. In my paper, I explore why the upsurge of kombucha-making in contemporary U.S. homes persists, as told through these platforms, as well as how this food practice functions differently than other methods of food production and eating in the U.S. (Katz 2006; Latour 1988; Mintz 1996). I trace the discourse of fermentation communities on various Internet blogs and social forums, as well as in printed texts. I also incorporate images and narrative, reflecting the multifaceted sites in which this practice appears. Through these means, I analyze the upsurge of kombucha-making as a lifestyle, as depicted by practitioners, and how this lifestyle rethinks the self and home in the context of contemporary U.S. food industry (Kaika 2004; Rabinow 1992). Ultimately, I argue that by welcoming bacteria and yeast into their bodies and homes, practitioners emphasize the sociopolitical potential of microorganisms (Paxon 2008; Power 2009; Tsing 2012). Home fermentation and its bacterial basis incite new trans-corporeal, interactive modes of living that call for deeper consideration of the natural world, the past, and the future (Abrahamsson and Bertoni 2014; Alaimo 2010; Tuana 1996).

References

Abrahamsson, Sebastian, and Filippo Bertoni

2014    Compost Politics: Experimenting with Togetherness in Vermicomposting. Environmental Humanities 4: 125–148.

Alaimo, Stacey

2010    Bodily Natures. In Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Bodily Self Pp. 1–25. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Kaika, Maria

2004    Interrogating the Geographies of the Familiar: Domesticating Nature and Constructing the Autonomy of the Modern Home. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 28(2): 265–86.

Katz, Sandor Ellix

2006    The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved:  Inside America’s Underground Food Movements. White River Junction: Chelsea Publishing.

Latour, Bruno

1988    The Pasteurization of France. Translated by Alan Sheridan and John Law.  Harvard University Press.

Mintz, Sidney W.

1996    Eating American. In Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom Pp. 106–124. Boston: Beacon Press.

Paxon, Heather

2008    Post-Pasteurian Cultures: The Microbiopolitics of Raw-Milk Cheese in the United States. Cultural Anthropology 23(1): 15–47.

Power, Emma R.

2009    Domestic Temporalities: Nature Times in the House-as-Home. Geoforum 40: 1024–1032.

Rabinow, Paul

1992    Artificiality and Enlightenment: From Sociobiology to Biosociality. In Zone 6: Incorporations. Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter, eds. Pp. 234–252. Canada: Bradbury Tamblyn and Boorne Ltd., distributed by MIT Press.

Tsing, Anna

2012    Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species. Environmental Humanities 1: 141–154.

Tuana, Nancy

1996    Fleshing Gender, Sexing the Body: Refiguring the Sex/Gender Distinction. The Southern Journal of Philosophy XXXV, Supplement: 53–71.

 

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