Tag Archives: AAA meeting

More Food Panels, Papers, and Posters at AAA 2017

A week or so ago we posted a listing of the panels sponsored by SAFN at the upcoming meetings of the American Anthropological Association. It is a glorious list, of course, and if you are attending, you could probably build your entire schedule with that alone.

There are many more food and nutrition papers, posters, and panels on the conference program. If you do a search for “food” you will get a surprisingly large number of results. We requested that SAFN members whose work was not reviewed by SAFN send us information about anything they might have on the program. Those that we received are below…and the selection is inspiring! We will not have time to post more here, so check out the conference program for even more. If you are a SAFN member, remember that you can also circulate news about your presence on the meeting program by sending an email to the SAFN listserv. Let us know what you are up to!

Thursday, November 30

Abby Golub: New Plantations, Neo-Slavery, and Successful Incorporation: Towards a Framework for a More Just Food Production System, as part of the poster session (3-0530) “Gallery Session: Social Justice and Education,” 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM.

Abstract: New Plantations, a multi-sited, international collaboration funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies, considers migrant agricultural labor, race, and illegality. The project includes case studies in Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium. A primary goal of the project is to “develop a framework for more socially sustainable production regimes, and explore approaches that might improve difficult working conditions of migrants in agriculture.” My project fits within the Belgium case study. My goal was to understand life paths of people no longer working in such neo-slavery working conditions, and to understand how they achieved their positions. I specifically focus on South Asian, especially Sikh people in Belgium because they have often worked in agriculture and moved on to other jobs and even farm ownership. I argue that Sikh Cosmopolitanism, a compilation of traits such as openness, generosity, and positive associations with rural, as well as religious habitus, contributes to positive religious, economic, and educational incorporation both locally in Belgium and in transnational social fields.

Session: (3-0730) Famines and Food Crises in Africa: Causes, Consequences and Remediation: How Anthropologists Are Responding. Anita Spring (chair), Solomon Katz, Ellen Messer, Barrett Brenton, Zinta Zommers, John Lamm, Judy Canahuati, David Kauck. 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Abstract: Famines and food crises in Africa and some Middle Eastern countries bordering the Red Sea are created and complicated by war, political unrest, climate change, continued population growth, and economic factors. A chaotic decline in food resources for at least 20 million people extends east to west from Nigeria to South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen, mostly due to political unrest and instability, with these four countries having the greatest severity in Africa and the world according to the UN. Other climate-related famine countries are in the Horn of Africa and include Sudan and Ethiopia, while political unrest affects food production and distribution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (central Africa) and drought conditions obtain in the southern and eastern Africa (Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), where prolonged and serious drought strains the economic and social capacity to cope with and develop new solutions in these recurring drought scenarios. Further complicating relief in many of these countries are the reduced expenditures from multilateral agencies of the UN and bilateral assistance from the US, UK, EU, and Japan. By contrast, China has stepped up to provide public- and private-sector funding and development assistance, but the magnitude, methods and results need to be studied to ascertain the impacts. This session examines from an anthropological perspective the causes, consequences, and their efforts for remedial and action plans developed by participating multilateral, bilateral and NGO agencies aimed at mitigating food and agriculture disasters, and for promulgating new solutions both political and technological. A major problem currently facing famine-relief programs is the uncertainty of UN funding, particularly affecting the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP) and related emergency resources due in part to the proposed US under-funding for UN programs. This round table aims to summarize issues and remedies using the data from several perspectives. Questions to be addressed in this session include, but are not limited to the following issues: (1) How are anthropologists conceptualizing, identifying, and mitigating food-system disasters, using their long-term experiences in studying previous and recurrent calamities? (2) How do current political mishandling of agricultural production and distribution affect outcomes versus what happens if “more enlightened” production and distribution methods, as well as better marketing strategies and financial instruments are introduced? (3) Are any of these likely to mitigate the food crises, and if so how? This round table also considers new and innovative farm-managed methods such as conservation agriculture and carbon sequestration in soils, alternative food sources and better food storage, new financial instruments and index-insurance for farmers, and producer-friendly government policies in terms of production and distribution. The need for greater economic understanding of the food supply is a crucial and missing link between the planning which is often done by Big Ag economics, and the need for “Anthronomics”, that uses the insights and questions of anthropology and the methods of economics to address new solutions for food system problems.

Friday, December 1

Session: (4-1005) Anthropologists’ Retirement Accounts, Land-grabbing, and Deforestation: local and global impacts of TIAA’s agricultural investments. Douglas Hertzler, Marc Edelman, Sidney Greenfield, Maria Luisa Mendonca, Steven Heim, Quinton Robinson, Karina Gonzalez, David Kane.

Abstract: Many anthropologists have their retirement savings invested in the large financial services organization TIAA, which provides plans for many universities and non-profits. TIAA describes itself as “the largest manager of worldwide farmland assets.” The firm is a global leader in the surging interest in acquiring farmland that has occurred over last decade as investors have increasingly seen farmland as a valuable and potentially scarce asset in the future. Separately from its real estate investments TIAA also has investments in the consumption side of the palm oil supply chain, an industry often connected with deforestation and human rights concerns. TIAA prides itself in being a responsible investor and played a leading role in developing the Principles for Responsible Investment in Farmland. These TIAA sponsored principles remain controversial among and civil society organizations participating in the UN Committee on World Food Security which has developed its own more broadly recognized guidelines on land tenure.

Since the pioneering fieldwork of AAA past-President Walter Goldschmidt in California in the 1940s, anthropologists have been interested in the impact of farm ownership structure on communities and food systems. Brazilian researchers and social movements have been concerned that corporate investment in farmland undermines land access and control by marginalized communities and groups and it has been alleged that companies such as TIAA are circumventing laws that were intended to prevent large-scale foreign ownership of farmland through joint ventures with Brazilian companies with majority ownership. Further, some claim following national legal requirements is not enough to protect rural communities where land tenure is contentious. In the United States, family farm advocates are concerned that the growing scale of corporate farms harms rural communities and reduces farming opportunities for young farmers, immigrants, and farmers of color. This public policy forum moderated by anthropologists interested in the issues, will include representatives of family farm, environmental, and human rights organizations, as well as representatives of organizations involved in responsible investment. In addition to addressing the current situation, panelists will be asked: What can large institutional investors do to support the implementation of human rights norms and best practices in equitable access to land and collective land rights?

Willa Zhen: Chefs Need Anthropology: Critical Reflections on Teaching at the Culinary Institute of America, as part of the panel (4-1270) “Why Anthropology Matters: Making Anthropology Relevant and Engaging a Larger Public Audience through Pedagogy,” 4:15 PM – 6:00 PM.

Abstract: This paper reflects upon the author’s experiences teaching anthropology at the Culinary Institute of America. Founded in 1946, this institution has come to be known for producing some of the top names in the culinary and hospitality fields. Graduates of the Institute routinely top the “best of” lists in the culinary world; names like Anthony Bourdain, Duff Goldman, Cat Cora, and many others. It suffices to say this institution has a strong reputation – just not for anthropology. But as the food industry has come to deal with new social issues like environmental change, cultural sustainability, fair labor practices, the Institute has also had to reshape its curriculum. Anthropology has entered the curriculum in recent years, part of the Institute’s growing recognition of the need for students to be more than “just” chefs. This paper will discuss why it is important to teach anthropology in what are traditionally vocational contexts and how the discipline is uniquely positioned to contribute beyond traditional liberal arts classrooms. Culinary students, who in their kitchen training have been taught to follow orders, are challenged to think critically, to develop intercultural awareness, and to question why actions occur. Anthropology can play a role in shifting students from saying “Yes, Chef!” to asking “Why, Professor?” by training individuals to think beyond the plate.

Saturday, December 2

B Lynne Milgram. Activating Alternatives in a Transnational Trade: Social Entrepreneurship and Frontier Coffee Production in the Upland Northern Philippine, as part of the panel (5-0915) “(Re)Situating Social Entrepreneurship and Transnational Trade in the Global South: Actors, Agency and Alternatives,” 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM.

Abstract: While the fair-trade-certified coffee movement’s roots in social justice created advantageous terms for producers, its current perceived inadequate concern for coffee quality and uneven producer-vendor relations have given rise to entrepreneurial initiatives marketing “fairer-than- fair-trade” coffee. The latter’s practice moves beyond “corporate social responsibility” to champion transparency, high quality, and sustainability. By opting out of the certification system, however, such fairly-traded enterprises raise questions about how consumers can verify vendors’ claims and how to reward those effectively assisting producer communities?

This paper engages these issues by analyzing new northern Philippine specialty coffee enterprises that apply a “fairly traded” mandate to activate the region’s Arabica coffee production. I argue that while these “barefoot” social entrepreneurs (Max-Neef 1992) have established more equitable terms for their transnational Philippine-US/Canadian trade, the complexity of people’s subsistence needs and pre-existing socioeconomic relationships can challenge enterprise sustainability. By shortening commodity chains, paying higher purchase prices, and providing organic cultivation training and processing equipment, Philippine social entrepreneurs enable farmers’ engagement in alternatives to conventional and fair trade markets. Indeed by promoting small-lot coffee production, these entrepreneurs have established a distinctive terroir of place and taste. Yet, Philippine farmers’ lack of income diversity, independent rather than collective production, and fierce competition in which producers sell previously promised produce to another buyer can frustrate entrepreneurs’ efforts to differentiate their practice. Given coffee culture’s growing third wave, I argue that Philippine entrepreneurs’ timely initiatives can still resolve these push-pull tensions to yield an industry for, and more responsive to, stakeholders needs.

Sunday, December 3

Joeva Rock: “The So-Called NGOs, Some of Them are Just Killing Us”: Recipient Fatigue and Agricultural Development in Ghana, as part of the panel (6-0260) “Lives Spaces, Globalized Economies, and Consumption in African Contexts,” 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM.

Abstract: The African Green Revolution is an unprecedented attempt to radically transform the African countryside vis-à-vis commercialized agriculture. It is premised on the assumption that, when provided with education and opportunity, African farmers will purchase “improved,” higher-yielding technologies. In this presentation, I draw on 13 months of ethnographic research in Ghana on one such improved technology: genetically modified seeds.

Using interviews, organizational texts, and participant observation, I show how a growing discontent amongst bureaucrats, civil society, and farmers disrupts the African Green Revolution’s teleological logics of growth, modernization and development. I call this discontent “recipient fatigue,” a dissatisfaction with being subjects of NGO, donor and state interventions, many of which have had little positive impact. I first share stories from farmers in Northern Ghana, many of whom have had negative experiences with “modern” agriculture, and thus remain skeptical of future interventions. Some decide to opt out of projects and interviews, a momentary disassociation from a global development system that denigrates African epistemologies and expertise. Finally, I conclude by showing how Ghanaian food sovereignty organizations attempt to translate agrarian discontent into policy change and practice, with particular regard to seed and seed law.

Session: (6-0235) Categories of Remembrance and Forgetting: Itineraries and Sanctuaries – Itineraries (Part 1). Terese Gagnon, Carrie Emerson, C.Nadia Seremetakis, Hayden Kantor, Tracey Heatherington, Virginia Nazarea, Ann Gold

Abstract: Memory is in our heads, but it is also embedded in things, places, relationships and the senses. What happens when things are destroyed, people are uprooted, and sensuous engagements wane? Collectively, we explore how the valuable contents of memory are tied to webs of socialities, landscapes, and mythologies that call forth complex itineraries and sanctuaries. We query the ways in which emotions surrounding the forgotten and recalled, rather than representing a trauma/nostalgia binary, may most often be “both/and.” How is memory seeded, how is it ceded? In what ways are seeds portable altars of identity and place for indigenous peoples, traditional farmers, immigrants, and refugees, among others? When the seeds themselves are lost, is the opening of that sensuous portal to other times, places, and relationships permanently foreclosed? How does one re-member and re-emplace when faced with the erasure of landscapes of memory and enforced bodily forgetting in the context of various calamities and displacements? How are political economies, and the wide relationships they foster, tied up in all of this in the Anthropocene?

From dislocation of political refugees and traditional farmers to conservation of biodiversity and diverse agro-culinary traditions, we examine milieus and memorials where the past is re-lived, consecrated, or expunged. We consider how, under certain conditions, these subversive and pregnant sites may have the power to re-open or re-create alternant forms of sociality and “affective economies” that encompass humans and other beings alike. We delve into the nature of nostalgia, that journeying back into the memory of things, places, routes, and refuges that at once carry warmth and melancholy. The contributors look at how these associations are linked to temporalities and places that have the potential to be both “slippery” and “transmutable” through the performance of gardening, cooking, and commensality. Such acts are especially fertile ground, as they constitute a re-opening via the senses and memory that substantively alters the present physical/ontological reality. In these often strange journeys of estrangement and sometimes return, the material and the imaginary collide.

Session: (6-0420) Categories of Remembrance and Forgetting: Itineraries and Sanctuaries – Sanctuaries (Part 2) Emily Ramsey, Taylor Hosmer, David Sutton, Milan Shrestha, Melanie Narciso, Jim Veteto, Marc Williams, C. Nadia Seremetakis.

Abstract: How do landscapes and foodscapes, along with everyday practices of preserving or rebuilding knowledge and community across time and space become sanctuaries? How can embodied practices of memory and sensuous engagement call forth connections that bridge “transmission gaps” in the face of rapid changes in the age of Anthropocene? What new forms of sociality do individuals forge in constructing these sanctuaries of memory, and how can they re-shape the knowledge, identity, and even discourse surrounding the politics of food, climate change, and austerity? How does one emplace when (if) there is little left to enact? This panel seeks to delve into these questions, examining the diverse ways that sanctuaries of memory and practice confront the risk of loss and serve to rebuild connections to individuals, places, and times.

Food and beverage become a primary sanctuary and a productive site for memory’s maintenance, whether through the physical preparation of dishes or the value conveyed in commensality. Embodied aspects of food, whether in the preparation of Cathead biscuits, a regional Southern specialty at risk of dying out with the growth of the frozen biscuit market, or in the age-old preparation of mead, a practice revived among participants in the emergent ethnobotanical mead circle tradition of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Memory also confronts an ever shifting foodscape, maintaining connections to heritage and past ways of life, in both tomato festivals that dot the Southeastern United States, bringing farmers and suburbanites into conversation with one another, and among rural Filipinos who continue to produce Aslam Baliti, a slowly fermented sugarcane vinegar, against the many mass-produced vinegars lacking traditional complex flavors. Moreover, cultural memory intersects with and continues to shape action, for example, where Nepali memories of past flood events influences their perception of risk with glacial lake expansion, and how Greek citizens facing political austerity measures and increasing individualism react by enacting coffee shop sociality and preparing traditional meals for refugees. This session explores milieus where the past is re-lived, consecrated, or reimagined, creating sometimes alternant forms of sociality that bring together individuals in diverse localities and circumstances, creating sanctuaries , both fleeting and robust.

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SAFN Events & Panels at AAA 2017

The annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association is rapidly approaching. The conference will be held November 29-December 3 in Washington DC, mostly at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition will be well represented at the conference. We have included here a list of the panels sponsored by SAFN, as well as some of the other SAFN related events that will take place during the conference. More details on some of those will follow in coming days, including information about additional panels and papers that SAFN members are involved in that are not included in this list (those sponsored by other sections of the AAA). We have also provided links in the list below to the conference schedule, so readers can read more about the panels and papers. Come hear the latest food and nutrition research from anthropologists!

Wednesday (Nov. 29)

Wednesday, 4:30 pm-6:15 pm

(2-0545) Ethnographic Perspectives on School Food: Education, nutrition and culture

Rachel Black, Kelly Alexander (Session Chairs), Yue Dong, Caroline Compretta, Emily Herrington, Sarah Stapleton, Jennifer Thompson (Discussant)

Wednesday, 4:30 pm-6:15 pm

(2-0670) The Tourism of Food and Nature Matters: From Agriculture to Meals, from Rainforests to Glaciers

Clare Sammells (Session Chair), Mary-Beth Mills, Thomas Abercrombie, Charmaine Kaimikaua, Teresita Majewski, Angeles Lopez-Santillan, Michael Di Giovine (Discussant)

Thursday (Nov. 30)

Thursday, 2:00 pm-3:45 pm

(3-0755) Taste and Terroir as Anthropological Matter

Anne Lally, Kerri Lesh (Session Chairs), Carole Counihan, Sharyn Jones, Daniel Shattuck, II, Amy Trubek (Discussant)

Thursday, 5:30 PM – 8:15 PM

(3-1250) Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) Board Meeting 
Abigail E. Adams – Central Connecticut State University; Rachel E. Black – Connecticut College

Thursday, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm

(3-1485) Food and Politics: Shifting Economic and Cultural Practices in Global Contexts

Alice Julier (Session Chair), Christina Solazzo, Sophie Slesinger, Farha Ternikar, Greg de St. Maurice (Discussant)

Friday (Dec. 1)

Friday, 10:15 am-12:00 pm

(4-0295) Black Food Matters: Race, Food Consumption, and Resistance in the Age of “Food Justice”

Hanna Garth, Ashanté Reese (Session Chairs), Kimberly Kasper, Billy Hall, Yuson Jung, Andrew Newman, Psyche Williams-Forson (Discussant)

Friday, 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

(4-0575) Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) Business Meeting  

Friday, 4:15 pm-6:00 pm

(4-1185) Political Context of Local Food Movements

Leigh Bush (Session Chair), Ryan Adams, Amanda Green, Janet Chrzan, Madeline Chera, Eriberto Lozada, Brad Weiss (Discussant)

Friday, 7:45 PM – 9:00 PM

(4-1360) Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) Distinguished Speaker, Awards and Reception 

Saturday (Dec. 2)

Saturday, 4:15 pm-6:00 pm

(5-1035) U.S. Food Matters in Policy and Ethnography

Abigail Adams (Chair), Victoria Benavidez, Dalila D’Ingeo, Preety Gadhoke, Derrell Cox, II, Mariya Voytyuk, Elaine Gerber

Sunday (Dec. 3)

Sunday, 10:15 am-12:00 pm

(6-0330) How Food Matters in Contested Sovereignties and Resistance

Jacquelyn Heuer (Session Chair), Nir Avieli, Sheila Rao, Brittany Power

Sunday, 12:15 pm-2:00 pm

(6-0510) Building the Big Tent: Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Work in Food and Nutrition

Kimberly Johnson, Susan Johnston (Session Chairs), Carina Truyts, Jane Waddell, Dillon Mahoney, Roberta Baer, Chelsea Wentworth, Kristen Borre, Solomon Katz (Discussant)

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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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Mill City Museum

David Beriss

Going to Minneapolis for the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association? Readers of this blog will probably want to explore the diverse foods available around the Twin Cities, maybe check out the markets, or seek out some craft beer. If you have time, however, I suggest you visit the Mill City Museum, located on the site of what was once the largest flour mill in the world. It is a fascinating museum, an architectural marvel, and located next to what was once the only natural waterfall on the Mississippi. And it may give you some insights into our food system’s biggest players.

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Mill City Museum

The Twin Cities have a reputation for being home to hipsters, a diverse array of immigrants, progressive politics, and Garrison Keillor. There is, however, a pantheon of American food deities based in Minnesota. The Jolly Green Giant, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Betty Crocker, the Trix Rabbit, Count Chocula, Lucky the Leprechaun, and many of the other characters that inhabit your grocery store shelves or home pantry were born in Minnesota. As the historic home of General Mills, Pillsbury, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Hormel, Land O’Lakes, Schwan Foods, and many other food-related corporations, Minnesota might just be the Mount Olympus of American industrial food.

I grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, more or less unaware of any of this. I think I imagined that the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant was somewhere in rural Minnesota, possibly near my grandparent’s home in Austin, not far from the Iowa border. Austin is where Hormel is based and where they make Spam. But the food industry was actually right in front of me nearly every day in Bloomington and I never noticed it. I grew up on Washburn Avenue South and attended Washburn Elementary School. I never gave any thought to the name “Washburn.” The streets in Minneapolis and its suburbs are arranged in a series of convenient alphabets. Washburn is between Vincent and Xerxes, which seemed like an explanation all by itself. After all, Xerxes is not, as far as I know, a figure in Minnesota history, so why raise questions about Washburn?

cadwallader_colden_washburn

Cadwallader C. Washburn

It turns out that the street is named after Cadwallader Colden Washburn. Washburn was one of those nineteenth century guys with an amazingly varied career. Originally from Maine, he was involved in a wide range of businesses in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. He was elected to Congress from Wisconsin in the 1850s, was an active abolitionist, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was eventually elected governor of Wisconsin. For our purposes, perhaps the most important thing he did was build some of the biggest flour mills in the world. Those mills contributed to making Minneapolis into one of the world centers for flour milling from the late nineteenth century until the 1920s. Whence the name “Mill City.” Washburn’s company eventually became General Mills.

The museum is located inside the ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill, built in 1874. In 1878 flour dust triggered an explosion that destroyed the mill, along with several other mills along the Mississippi, killing at least 18 workers. It seems that flour dust can be quite explosive. In rebuilding the mill, Washburn worked with an Austrian engineer, William de la Barre, to develop a system for controlling the dust and making the mills safer. You can learn about this whole process at the museum – they even stage demonstrations of flour dust explosions in the museum, for those who like pyrotechnics with their museum experience.

The mill closed in 1965 and, after sitting derelict for decades, nearly burned down in 1991. Built inside the ruins of the mill, the museum is a great example of what can be done with abandoned industrial sites. The museum exhibits detail the history of making flour in the Twin Cities and should provide you with some insights into how Minnesota became a center for industrial food. And if you have had enough industrial food history, there is a farmer’s market nearby.

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SAFN at the 2015 AAA Meeting in Denver

Rachel Black
SAFN President
Connecticut College

It was a busy and productive AAA Meeting for the Society for the the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. Our section sponsored 13 panels, which included one poster session and a session of the AAA Task Force on World Food Problems. SAFN was able to sponsor three invited sessions, which brought together research interests in nutrition, culture and food justice. The SAFN panels that I sat in on were well attended. It is great to see continued interest in the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. However, our program chairs Arianna Huhn and Joan Gross found 197 people presenting on food-related topics who were not members of SAFN. This made me realize that we still have a lot of work to do to recruit new members and expand our community of scholars working in the field of Anthropology of Food and Nutrition.

During the meeting of the SAFN Executive Board, we talked about ways to attract new members and bring value to our existing membership. Next year we will be working on a creative membership drive which will include prizes for existing and new members. In addition, we will be working hard to build our community at the AAA meeting and throughout the year at events such as the Association for the Study of Food and Society meeting in Toronto that we will be co-sponsoring.

In Denver, SAFN members discussed ways to support our graduate students working on topics in the anthropology of food and nutrition. First, the Executive Board unanimously voted to cut the price of student membership in half. It now only costs $10 for students to join SAFN. Second, we plan on organizing a mentoring roundtable event with senior scholars, early-career scholars and graduate students. Third, our section will be creating a new prize to support student travel for research. Stay tuned for more details on the SAFN Student Travel Prize.

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Amy Trubek, SAFN VP, with Ji Yea Hong, the winner of this year’s Wilson Award.

This year SAFN awarded two student prizes. The Christine Wilson Award went to Ji Yea Hong for her paper entitled “”I Eat (Pork) Therefore I am (Na): Flexible Personhood and Wild Identity on One Plate”. Ji Yea Hong is a MA student in Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. Hong’s paper:

“examines ways in which ritualized production and consumption of food make people who they are by establishing ontological personhood and ethnic identity. Botshasi, salted-and-dried-pork consumed daily by the Na persons in Southwest China, is ritually produced during the annual ancestral ritual, bokhosibu. On the one hand, throughout the ritualized process of making, eating, and exchanging botshasi, the distances among humans, ancestors, and pigs are constantly negotiated, contingently establishing a flexible human personhood. On the other hand, a similar process also renders individual identity, experienced as equally contingent and flexible. This fluidity of identity gives the Na persons a political wildness that cannot be institutionalized by the state.”

This year’s Thomas Marchione Food-as-a-Human-Right Student Award went to Jessie Mazar, a student in the University of Vermont’s Master of Science in Food Systems. Mazar’s research focuses on issues of food access and food security for Latino/a migrant farm workers in Vermont’s dairy industry. The jury felt that Mazar’s work was very much in the spirit of Tom Marchione’s lifelong commitment to studying food as a human right.

The SAFN reception at the AAA meeting featured a fabulous spread that ranged from fondu to bison sliders–perfect for a chilly November evening in Denver. Between bites and sips, SAFN members enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new colleagues. Our SAFN former president and Colorado native John Brett gave an animated talk entitled “Driven By Justice: Food Work in Denver”. For those of us who had spent the past four days in the Denver Convention Center, Brett’s talk was a wonderful glimpse of the outside world, focusing on some of the most dynamic local food justice initiatives taking place in the city.

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AAA 2015 Urgent Deadline Reminders!

From the SAFN program chairs for the 2015 meetings of the American Anthropological Association:

The deadline for submitting proposals for panels and papers at the AAA meetings in Denver is fast approaching—April 15th. You must be a member before signing up, so don’t wait until the very last minute. However, SAFN can allot one membership and registration waiver to a “guest” who will be presenting in one of our panels or workshops. To be eligible this person might be a non-anthropologist or be employed outside the US or Canada as an anthropologist. If you are interested in applying for a waiver, please fill out the form accessible on the AAA website at http://aaanet.org/meetings/President-and-Program-Chair-Waiver-2015.cfm, and email the form to USuvarnakar@aaanet.org BY TOMORROW APRIL 1. We would also appreciate you sending a copy to us at jgross@oregonstate.edu. We must tell you that we have not been able to open the form on our Macs, so if you have the same problem, please contact Ushma Suvarnakar at the AAA.

We’d also like to remind you to be sure to select SAFN as the first, second, or third reviewer (first step on the submission form) if you want us to consider sponsorship or co-sponsorship. Know also that you can apply for a refund of registration fees by October if your proposal is rejected.

Joan Gross and Arianna Huhn
SAFN 2015 Program Chairs

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Call for Papers! SAFN at AAA 2015, Denver.

Your opportunity to present at the

114th American Anthropological Association annual meeting in Denver, CO November 18-22, 2015

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER!

SAFN seeks proposals for Invited Sessions, Volunteered Papers, Posters, & Sessions, and alternative session formats (including Roundtables and Installations)

  The Deadline for EXECUTIVE SESSION Submission is 5 PM EST, TUESDAY FEBRUARY 17th

The Deadline for ALL OTHER Submissions is 5 PM EST, WEDNESDAY APRIL 15th

 THE THEME of this year’s conference is “Familiar/Strange. Casting common sense in new light by making the familiar seem strange and the strange seem familiar is a venerable strategy used across anthropology’s subfields. It can denaturalize taken-for-granted frames and expand the horizons of students and public alike. But useful as this process of estrangement and familiarization can be, it can lapse into exoticism through “us/them” comparisons that veil historical and contemporary relations of power and powerlessness within and across societies, begging the question of the normative templates (of the “West,” of “whiteness”) that lurk behind.

Remember that to upload abstracts and to participate in the meeting you must be an active AAA member who has paid the 2015 meeting registration fee – click here for information about exceptions. When renewing your AAA membership, please remember to select SAFN as your section affiliation. Your support helps to fund section activities and our growing portfolio of awards that support graduate student research and writing, and the promotion of food as a human right.

If you’d like to discuss your ideas for sessions, papers, posters, roundtable discussions, forums, or installations feel free to contact SAFN Program Chairs, Arianna Huhn (arihuhn@gmail.com) and Joan Gross (jgross@oregonstate.edu).

More information about submission types and presenter roles and responsibilities is available on the AAA website. A summary is provided below:

* Submit SESSIONS & ROUNDTABLES to SAFN for INVITED STATUS designation

We will select several sessions / roundtables submitted for review by SAFN for designation as INVITED. These are generally cutting-edge, directly related to the meeting theme, or cross sub-disciplinary. SESSION proposals should include a session abstract of no more than 500 words, keywords, anticipated attendance, as well as the names and roles of each presenter. Individual presenters must also submit their own abstracts (250 words), paper title and keywords via the AAA meeting website. ROUNDTABLES are a format to discuss critical social issues affecting anthropology. No papers are presented in this format. The organizer will submit an abstract for the roundtable but participants will not present papers or submit abstracts. A roundtable presenter is a major role, having the same weight as a paper presentation.

** PLEASE NOTE, one way to increase your and our presence at the meetings is to have co-sponsored invited sessions between SAFN and another society. Invited time is shared with the other sub-discipline, and the session is double-indexed. When prompted during the submission process, please select additional AAA sections for review if you think that we should be in contact with them about possible co-sponsorship.

* Submit your INDIVIDUALLY VOLUNTEERED PAPERS AND POSTERS to SAFN

For evaluation purposes, the author of each individually volunteered paper and poster must select one section for the review process. Selecting SAFN will funnel your proposal to us. A paper or poster abstract of up to 250 words is required. Accepted volunteered papers and posters will be grouped into sessions around a common topic or theme.

* Submit INSTALLATIONS to SAFN

INSTALLATIONS invite anthropological knowledge off the beaten path of the written conference paper. Presenters may propose performances, recitals, conversations, author-meets-critic roundtables, salon reading workshops, oral history recording sessions and other alternative, creative forms of intellectual expression for consideration.

Also consider:

NEW! RETROSPECTIVE SESSIONS are intended to highlight career contributions of established leading scholars (for example, on the occasion of their retirement or significant anniversary). A session abstract of up to 500 words is required.

PUBLIC POLICY FORUMS provide a place to discuss critical social issues affecting anthropology, public policy issues of interest to anthropologists, and public policy issues that could benefit from anthropological knowledge or expertise. The ideal format includes a moderator and no more than seven panelists. Generally, each public policy forum is scheduled for 105 minutes. Refer your proposal to the AAA Committee on Public Policy for review, not a section.

MEDIA SUBMISSIONS are juried by the Society for Visual Anthropology. SVA continues to welcome interactive media work and also encourages short work that is under 15 minutes. For more information see the Society for Visual Anthropology’s website at www.societyforvisualanthropology.org.

We look forward to another exciting annual meeting with strong SAFN participation! – Arianna & Joan

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