Southern Foodways Alliance 2018 Graduate Student Conference: Food Studies Across the Disciplines

Received from the Southern Foodways Alliance…this annual conference has proven to be very useful for graduate students with interests in food over the last few years.

Oxford, Mississippi
September 10-11, 2018

Call for Abstracts: DUE April 13, 2018

The Southern Foodways Alliance, along with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Graduate School at the University of Mississippi, announce a call for papers, multi-media projects, or short documentaries for a conference to be held on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, September 10-11.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Kyla Tompkins, Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at Pomona College, and author of Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the Nineteenth Century.

We welcome original research or projects that engage with the broad topic of Southern foodways or agriculture.  Suggested areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

■      Intersectional Southern identities (race, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, etc.) grounded in foodways and/or agriculture

■      The role of foodways in Southern art or literature

■      Food system labor in the U.S. South

■      Immigrant foodways of the U.S. South

■      Critical analyses of contemporary Southern foodways

■      Social, historical, or ecological studies of Southern agriculture

■      Methodological approaches to Southern food studies

By Friday, April 13, please submit:

■ an abstract that describes the paper or project in under 200 words

■ CV or resume

■ a short biographical statement

Please address any questions and send all materials to Afton Thomas at

Acceptance Notification and Conference Participation Fee:

Acceptances will be emailed by Friday, April 27.  At the time of acceptance, invited participants will have 10 days to make a non-refundable conference participation fee of $25. Accepted participants’ final drafts of work to be presented at the conference are due Friday, August 3 by 5p.m. CT.

Three meals during the conference are provided to each presenter at no additional cost. Travel to Oxford, Mississippi, and lodging costs are the responsibility of presenters.

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CFP for EASA2018 in Stockholm: Moving on: Food Futures and Reimagining Uncertainty

Does your research look at food practices, food supply chains, local
cuisines or agriculture in a changing environment? Does your work draw
broadly on the themes of temporality and orientations toward the future –
practices of anticipation, anxieties, food security, planning or
uncertainty? If yes, you are warmly invited to submit an abstract to our
panel ‘Moving on: Food Futures and Reimagining Uncertainty’ (P033) and come
meet us in Stockholm at the EASA’s Biannual Conference ‘Staying, Moving,
Settling’ from 14 to 17 August 2018.— Moving on: Food Futures and Reimagining Uncertainty (P033), a panel of the EASA Anthropology of Food network
This panel addresses how food ‘moves on’ across time and space, borders and
bodies. From everyday practices to overarching value systems, we consider
foodways as human contemplations of the future: as sources of uncertainty,
as cushions against it and as speculations in search of opportunities.
Continue reading

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SAFN @ AAA’s: Sessions, Papers, Lightning Talks, Roundtables, Mentoring Events, Retrospectives, Posters!

It is time to plan for AAA 2018 in San Jose! The submission portal is open, and we encourage you to begin organizing panels.

This year’s SAFN program chairs Ryan Adams, Jennifer Jo Thompson, and I are eager to work with you to create an exciting program for this meeting.

The deadline for all submissions to the AAA website is 3 PM EDT on Monday, April 16, 2017.

One of our goals is to create co-sponsored sessions with colleagues in our complementary societies. In order to do this, we need your help. Please let us know about your panels as soon as possible and make suggestions to us for co-sponsors (C&A, SMA, A&E, SAE, SLA, etc.). We will reach out to our counterparts in those organizations. Co-sponsorship will get us more visibility as well as a bigger and better audience!

Conference Details:

Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation

Wednesday, November 14 – Sunday, November 18

San Jose Convention Center 

Find out more about the meeting here:

Submission Types: We at SAFN encourage you to think beyond the traditional individual paper session and consider installations, flash (5 minute) presentations, mentoring events and retrospectives, as a few examples. All of these take place in the allotted 1 hour and 45 minutes. Double sessions have been eliminated, fyi.

  • oral presentation sessions (standard and retrospective),
  • roundtables (standard and retrospective),
  • individually volunteered papers,
  • group gallery (poster) sessions,
  • individual galleries (posters),
  • group flash presentations,
  • installations,
  • workshops, and
  • mentoring events.

Individual Volunteered Papers and Volunteered Sessions:  We encourage you to organize or co-organize a volunteered session yourself with collaborators OR submit your paper to an organized session that fits your topic. Feel free to use the SAFN listserv to find additional participants for sessions, and we will post your CFP (call for papers) on the SAFN website as well. If you submit an individual volunteered paper, we will do our best to organize individually submitted abstracts into sessions based on the common themes we identify. These tend to be less cohesive, but we will do our best!

Invited Sessions: We will consider all sessions that are submitted to our section for invited status (Invited Sessions). If you’d like invited status or believe your session would be a strong candidate for invited status, please contact us ahead of time. We can usually sponsor two invited sessions or possibly more if we partner with another section. Again, this is why it’s important to tune us in ahead of time so that we can reach out to other sections to get more invited sessions.

Rules & Policies: Please see the Annual Meeting Participation Rules and Policies. Note that meeting participation is limited to AAA members (with some exceptions). Also, please note the One-Plus-One rule which mandates that participants may only: (1) present one paper/poster, or serve as a participant on a roundtable or installation and (2) accept no more than one discussant role elsewhere on the program. An individual may serve as organizer or chair of an unlimited number of sessions. This rule is strictly enforced by the AAA Program Committee. 

Use the online submission portal to submit your panels and papers.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.


Ryan Adams, Amanda Green, and Jennifer Jo Thompson

Allied AAA Sections

From the Anthropology Blogs, these sections may be possibilities for sponsorship or co-sponsorship:

Society for Economic Anthropology at #AmAnth2018


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Byron Fellowship for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

This short and intensive leadership fellowship might be of interest!

The Byron Fellowship program is available to 20 upper class undergraduates, graduate students, and “recent” graduates from throughout the world by application. Prospective Fellows are evaluated based on their demonstrated academic, civic, and professional leadership. The Foundation is interested in a renaissance in the health of human and natural communities.

Fellowship Opportunity

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What Foodanthro is reading now, February 27, 2018

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 or

Got some coffee on hand? It’s hard for me to imagine spending $18 on a cup of coffee, but still, growing coffee in California under a canopy of avocadoes is a really happy image. As we move into new food territory with climate change, it’s interesting to hear of how people experiment, adapt and also push the fringes of what can be grown where.

Science recently published an article about the alleged “sugar conspiracy”, suggesting that the jostling of different nutrition ideas evolved over time in the context of postwar nutrition. It highlights the social forces that shaped discourse at the time, in a way that seems to suggest introspection, as well as a degree of humility and openness (which seems to be what foodanthro is all about):

But ahistorical accounts thwart our ability to critically evaluate the often long and zigzag process of scientific conjecture and refutation. They provide spurious cover for changes to policy by suggesting that old ideas are illegitimate. And, they advance a false impression that doing the “right” kind of science will somehow avert the messy business of making policy based on incomplete evidence, public values, and democratic politics

Another article from The Atlantic asks us whether the planet can feed 10 billion people, talking about the “moonshots” of the wizards (interested in technological fixes) and the prophets (interested in ecological sustainability):

Although the argument is couched in terms of calories per acre and ecosystem conservation, the disagreement at bottom is about the nature of agriculture—and, with it, the best form of society. To Borlaugians, farming is a kind of useful drudgery that should be eased and reduced as much as possible to maximize individual liberty. To Vogtians, agriculture is about maintaining a set of communities, ecological and human, that have cradled life since the first agricultural revolution, 10,000-plus years ago.

Over at EcoWatch, one farmer , growing hydroponically in containers, says that the way you feed a growing population is:

to make millions and millions of people into successful farmers.

This food interview over at the Guardian was just fun, and worth reading for the comments, and this description of soup:

like an enormous vat of what appeared to be water with one chicken claw in it.

I appreciate this column of everything the Guardian loves “about food right now,” for what it says about what is currently perceived as cool, and how distant all these places feel from here in South Africa. I followed a link on the column and learned about Kaki tree project, which sends persimmon saplings of a tree that survived the Nagasaki bombing to sites around the world). It also led me to Ruby Tandoh’s  slightly dated Guardian article, where her baking for an eating disorder outpatient ward was heartfelt:

Those with eating disorders feel the significance of this junction all too clearly, and a mouthful can easily become a transgression. Every single bite opens us up to the world. No woman is an island, as long as she eats.

Big news in global food systems (?): Unilever is sharing it’s supply chain for palm oil. There’s a move towards greater transparency and fewer middle men in a lot of supply chains, it seems.

Lastly, this article about eating pigeons. I appreciated how theoretically the one farmer should be getting lots of pigeons… and wasn’t.

Still, it’s clear that some of squab’s inconveniences are also a part of its charm. Because it’s hard to produce and familiar primarily to foodies, it’s treated with more reverence than a chicken. While this keeps squabs out of the mouths of the masses, it’s actually great for business.

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CFP: Consuming In, and Consumed By, a Trump Economy

The CFP below is for a mini-conference the day before the next annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. It may be of interest to SAFN members and FoodAnthropology readers.

Friday, August 10, 2018, 8:30 am-4:00 pm; Rutgers University, Camden, NJ

The Consumers and Consumption section of the American Sociological Association (ASA) is excited to host a one-day conference on Friday, August 10, one day prior to the 2018 ASA meetings. The event will be held at Rutgers University-Camden, located just over the Ben Franklin Bridge from Philadelphia. Participation is open to all, whether or not you are a member of the section or of ASA. Contributions from graduate students and junior scholars are especially welcome.

In addition to an open call for research in the sociology of consumption, we invite submissions related to the theme of “Consuming In, and Consumed By, a Trump Economy.” We view this theme as a broad call to explore how consumption is being (re)structured, enacted, and contested in the contemporary political moment, both within and beyond US borders. Themed presentations needn’t limit their focus to the Trump presidency. We welcome a range of perspectives (including historical and theoretical) investigating dynamics of consumption within this broader political, neo-liberal, plutocratic moment.

Submissions may explore a wide range of topics, including but not limited to the following:

  • consumption and climate change
  • social media and “fake news”
  • struggles for food justice, housing justice, or environmental justice
  • the dynamics of excess and scarcity
  • consumption, race/racism, and white supremacy
  • precarious labor and the “sharing” or “gig” economy
  • boycotts and ethical consumption
  • consumption and disaster capitalism
  • sexual harassment in consumer industries
  • credit, debt and inequality
  • consumption and nationalism
  • consumer culture, big data, and surveillance
  • celebrity culture
  • philanthropy and corporate social responsibility

We will continue our tradition of devoting one mini-conference session to a dissertation workshop with student presentations of work followed by comments from faculty members of the Section. PhD students may note whether they want their abstract to be considered for the dissertation session.

Further details regarding conference website and registration are forthcoming.


Please include:

  • A separate cover sheet with title, name and affiliation of author(s), and email of contact person (first author)
  • An abstract of 250-300 words detailing your topic, research questions, data, and a striking conclusion
  • Note if you wish to be considered for the dissertation workshop (PhD students)
  • Do not put identifying information in the body of the abstract, but only on the cover sheet

Email your proposal to:

Please put “Consumption Mini-Conference” and your name in the subject line

Notice of acceptance will be sent out in early May.

Co-Organizers: Kate Cairns and Dan Cook


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How Bad Is Food Insecurity for Disabled Americans? It’s worse than the Census data show

Elaine Gerber

With the 2020 Census around the corner and proposed changes to it highly politicized , I want to hold up to everyone – especially my fellow food ethnographers – how important recent changes in how “we count,” count!

For example, prior to the 2010 Census, we did not know how many blind and visually impaired people were living in the US because the Census did not disaggregate “sensory impairment” data and lumped blind and Deaf people together into one category.  Yet, their needs vis a vis food access and security would be quite different, such as reading tiny nutrition labels or communicating with the cashier.  Thankfully this hard-fought change was successful, and supports the development of policy solutions for various subpopulations.

As an applied anthropologist and disability studies scholar, these issues are important to me—and many others:  approximately 20% of working-aged adults have some form of impairment or disability.  Moreover, the tight relationship between poverty and disability means that there is a high percentage of impairment (and by extension, disabled people) in the low-income and disenfranchised populations that many of us work with, even if we don’t look for it or ask about it directly.

I have been arguing for over 10 years that access to food is much harder for disabled Americans than for their non-disabled counterparts (see Eat, Drink, and Inclusion) But there were no large-scale national datasets that either collected or de-aggregated their data in such a way to prove this.  So I was thrilled to see the Census report released in 2013 that confirmed the problem of a “dietary divide.”

These census data show that nearly one-third (31.8%) of all U.S. households with food insecurity included a working-age disabled adult and nearly 38% of households with very low food security included a working-age disabled adult.  By comparison, 12% of households with no working-age disabled adults were food insecure.  The census also demonstrated that food insecurity is an issue even when disabled people were employed: over 20% of households with a disabled adult who was working full-time were food insecure.

These statistics are incredibly valuable.  Yet, these do not fully capture the extent of food insecurity for disabled people.

One, these likely underestimate the problem, as the census data cited above are self-reported.  The census numbers might not accurately reflect the number of people who have highly stigmatized conditions (such as cognitive or psychiatric impairment); mental health issues are often not acknowledged, let alone disclosed, and many other hidden/non-visible disabilities are frequently underreported.  Estimates of rates of mental illness alone range from 20-80%  of the general population, with certain segments, such as veterans and college students, experiencing a disproportionate amount of that burden.  Further, ethnographic accounts have illustrated that there are many disabled people – people with impairments that would qualify as “disabled” under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) – who do not identify as disabled, including people with everyday health problems, such as a “bad back,” hypertension, migraines, and chronic pain, as well as those whose membership in this category is temporary (e.g., see Webber et al).  These conditions will affect how often someone can get to the market or how many groceries they can carry home, yet these people most likely would not have been included in the 2013 census numbers.

Two, the data only include non-institutionalized adults, thus leaving out several key populations.  Keywords here are “adult” and “institutionalized.”  The census data does not include disabled children or any seniors (people 65 and older) – and seniors represent the largest demographic of disabled people in the U.S., even if culturally we prefer to consider these people “elderly,” rather than impaired.  Nor does it include the many disabled working-aged adults who are living in group homes, larger institutions, and nursing homes, or who are incarcerated.  The DOJ estimates that imprisoned people are 3-4 times more likely to report having a disability as the non-incarcerated population.  There is every reason to believe that food insecurity is as bad, if not worse, for institutionalized disabled persons.  Nothing about the care of people in institutions generally, nor the history of the treatment of disabled people in this country, would suggest otherwise.

These numbers are only part of the picture. These statistics do not describe the qualitative ways in which disabled people’s experiences accessing food is different from that of non-disabled people, nor does it address other aspects related to food insecurity beyond food acquisition, such as cooking and food preparation, inclusion and commensality that accompanies dining, or the development of cultural identities (e.g., adulthood status) linked to independent food choice. Yet, research suggests that disabled people experience additional barriers shopping, cooking, and dining. For more, see an executive summary of my #EatDis research, AND stay tuned to this blog.

Elaine Gerber is a medical anthropologist and disability studies scholar who works at Montclair State University.  She formerly served as the Senior Research Associate at the American Foundation for the Blind and as President of the Society for Disability Studies.


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