Category Archives: Christine Wilson

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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SAFN Award Deadlines Extended!

SAFN is pleased to announce that we are extending the deadlines for both the Christine Wilson Award and the Thomas Marchione Award to July 28, 2017.

Thomas Marchione Award

Honoring the seminal academic and humanitarian work of Thomas J. Marchione, this award is given to an MA, MS or Ph.D. student whose active engagement in food security and food sovereignty issues continues and expands Dr. Marchione’s efforts toward food justice, food access, and food as a human right. The award can be in recognition of exemplary work completed or in progress, or for proposed work in the field of food as a human right and the social justice aspects of food systems.

Ideally, the recipient will be working towards, in Dr. Marchione’s words, “the best and more sustainable approaches to fulfill the right to food.” There will be one annual award of $750 (this will include a 1 year student membership to the American Anthropological Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition).  The award may be for proposed or in-process research or a research prize for completed work. 

Eligibility: Open to Masters and Doctoral level students who will have completed their coursework and research proposal by the time of the annual American Anthropological Association meeting in the discipline of anthropology or allied fields (e.g. sociology, food studies, nutrition, etc.).  Students already engaged in relevant research, action or advocacy may apply in acknowledgement of their accomplishments.  Proposals must be focused on migrant and/or refugee communities in the United States or on developing world countries.

For more details on the award requirements, please visit: https://foodanthro.com/thomas-marchione-award/

NEW DEADLINE: JULY 28, 2017

Submit your application to Amy Trubek via email at atrubek@uvm.edu.

Christine Wilson Award

 The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is pleased to invite students to submit papers in competition for the Christine Wilson Award. This award is presented to outstanding undergraduate and graduate student research papers that examine topics within the perspectives of 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 the submitting student is the 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 a cash award at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association and receive a year’s membership in SAFN.

Students (undergraduate or graduate) must be currently enrolled or enrolled during the past academic year. The text of papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced and follow AAA style guidelines.

The text of papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced and follow  AAA style guidelines.  Please delete identifying information and submit along with the CWA cover sheet.

NEW DEADLINE: July 28, 2017

Submit your application to Amy Trubek via email at atrubek@uvm.edu.

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Christine Wilson Awards

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is pleased to invite students to submit papers in competition for the Christine Wilson Award. This award is presented to outstanding undergraduate and graduate student research papers that examine topics within the perspectives of 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 the submitting student is the 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 a cash award at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association and receive a year’s membership in SAFN.

Students (undergraduate or graduate) must be currently enrolled or enrolled during the past academic year. The text of papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced and follow AAA style guidelines.

The text of papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced and follow  AAA style guidelines.  Please delete identifying information and submit along with the CWA cover sheet.

DEADLINE: July 1, 2017

Please submit as an email attachment to:

Dr. Amy Trubek (atrubek@uvm.edu), University of Vermont

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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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