Tag Archives: Anthropology of Food

Last Update, Before We Plunge In!

One last program update before heading up to DC. I recently received notification from alert readers about the following panels, which are food-related and interesting. One of them, I note with some embarrassment, is in fact a roundtable that I am a participant in. Don’t know how I failed to note that earlier, but now that is fixed. Check out earlier postings for other SAFN panels, papers, posters, and other important sessions. For further updates, check out the conference program on the AAA web site or program app.

Remember, SAFN needs you! Come to the business meeting, the reception, and all of our panels!

Finally, many of us will be using social media to post updates and comments about events at the conference. Follow the hashtag #AAA2017 to keep up. Go see these panels, participate in the discussions, have a great conference!

Wednesday, November 29

Session: (2-0345) Food in the Moral Orders of Contemporary China.

Mikkel Bunkenborg, Anders Sybrandt Hansen, Ingrid Fihl Simonsen, Mikkel Bunkenborg, Ingrid Fihl Simonsen, Annie Sheng, Jamie Coates, Erika J. Kuever, Ellen Oxfeld.

Abstract: Eating has become an anxious business in China. A seemingly endless series of scandals from milk laced with melamine to recycled gutter oil and rat meat camouflaged as mutton has caused alarm about food safety, and beneath these periodic scares is a constant suspicion that producers are using pesticides, hormones, and additives in ways that make their products unfit for human consumption. The problems persist despite increased governmental efforts to regulate food production and many have come to see the production and marketing of unsafe food as part of a more pervasive moral crisis that has haunted China in recent decades of rapid economic growth.

Distrustful of the agricultural products they consume, Chinese citizens develop new strategies for evaluating and sourcing foodstuffs ranging from online sharing of consumer reviews and reliance on imported foodstuffs to starting up food production in urban gardens and establishing relations to particular known farms that promise to deliver healthy and organic food. In the case of significant state units, specially procured foods sourced from outside the market sphere has a long tradition. Originally intended as a safeguard in case of famine, this practice continues today and food procured this way is the envy of many as its production is believed to be more strictly controlled, and the products consequently safer and healthier. While farmers are in a better position to produce their own food and thus retain some control over what they eat, they are increasingly integrated in a highly competitive market economy where farmers produce specialized cash crops – sometimes by means the farmers themselves find dubious – and rely on commoditized foodstuffs for consumption. Both ruralites and urbanites thus face the same predicament of procuring safe food in a market that is largely perceived as amoral.

This panel aims to address the problem of unsafe food from an ethnographic perspective by exploring how social relations and moral obligations are mediated by food and how people verbalize and act upon concerns with unsafe food in both urban and rural settings. From the feeding of infants and the feasting of guests to anonymous transactions with strangers, food is both indicative and constitutive of a variety of social relations. How do particular forms of sharing foods map moral communities, and how do such practices fare in the current atmosphere of consumer distrust? What do consumer decisions and notions of danger tell us about moral imaginaries of society, rural-urban-, inter-ethnic, and international orders? How is the reach of moral obligation negotiated in food production? What forms of community and social trust are developing on each side and across the rural-urban divide in new production and consumption practices? This panel calls for contributions that follow particular moral economies of food to their edges and thus provide a nuanced understanding of the imbrications of morality, trust and food in contemporary China.

Friday, December 1

Session: (4-0210) Food and drink: past, present, and future (Part I). Guy Duke, Guido Pezzarossi, Katherine Chiou, Kathryn Sampeck, Frederick Smith, Justin Reamer, Maria Bruno, Clare Sammells.

Session: (4-0480) Food and drink: past, present, and future (Part II).  Guido Pezzarossi, Guy Duke, Shanti Morell-Hart, J Ryan Kennedy, Laura Ng, David Cranford, Ann Laffey, Rosemary Joyce.

The food and drink we consume have always been integral links between human social phenomena, health and well-being, as well as the physical environment. Our methods of procurement and production, practices of preparation and consumption, and modes of discard and disposal all are deeply intertwined with everything from ontologies to politics, socioeconomics to ecology, and more. Archaeologists and cultural anthropologists have addressed these connections, often with particular emphasis on a general topic within the time periods and geographical settings of their study. Rarely, however, has the study of food and drink attempted to bridge past practices directly to current-day topics. Multiple potential approaches to making this linkage are available to us, each with unique but complementary perspectives. For instance, working from a longue dureé approach to foodways opens up new lines of inquiry that can radically contextualize the present in the past, illuminating local/ global knowledges and practices around food with longer and shorter histories and the particular assemblage(s) of humans and nonhumans that collaborate in their emergence and longevity.

Part I of this session will focus on how food and drink, and the heterogenous networks of practices, places, people and things that they gather, allow for analyses to inform on how past food related practices helped shape broader social and material contours of life in the present—both food and non-food related—at a variety of scales. Sidney Mintz’s study of sugar, and the multi-sited impacts on labor relations, production practices, technology, consumption and bodies–past and present–provides a model for thinking through the broader consequences and enduring legacies of past foodways.

In Part II of this session, presenters explore how such an approach also makes possible comparative analyses of contexts, processes and their effects that have been segregated in our analyses, due in large part to notions of modernity’s exceptionalism. A comparative approach to analyzing spatiotemporally distinct histories and assemblages, that are nevertheless generative of similar effects, provides a framework for bridging temporal/epochal ruptures between archaeology and cultural anthropology. Putting foodways in disparate pasts/presents that share similar topographies of power, process and experience into conversation, provides new perspectives on the seeming inevitability and permanence of present foodscapes and their entanglements.

Together, these sessions explore the multiple ways in which the patterns of food production, acquisition, preparation, distribution, consumption, and disposal in the ethnographic, archival, and archaeological past can not only have a profound effect on our understanding of how our current world came to be the way it is, but also guide us towards potential alternate futures.

Saturday, December 2

Roundtable Session: (5-0935) Food Talk Matters: How Health, Wealth, and Security Are Semiotically Produced, Consumed and Unequally Distributed. Kathleen Riley, Michael Silverstein, Robert Jarvenpa, Donna Patrick, Susan Blum, David Beriss, Amy Paugh, Christine Jourdan, Jillian Cavanaugh, Alexandra Jaffe, Martha Karrebaek.

Abstract: Food and words are produced, consumed, processed, and exchanged in homes, schools, gardens, coffee shops, farmers markets, movie sets, food shelves and refugee camps, to name only a few of the most familiar settings. Both are constrained by power-laced aesthetic systems. Both are enlisted by agents to semiotically transform political economic systems. Thus, the ethnographic and semiotic analysis of foodtalk (communication that happens through, about, around, and metaphorically as food) matters, both materially and symbolically, in a world where humans use foodways to both instantiate and alleviate social injustice and use discourse to both nourish and poison.

This roundtable brings together scholars from linguistic anthropology and food anthropology to explore the many cross-cutting ways in which food and language are implicated and interpolated in a range of political-economic issues from global discourses of food justice to dinnertime engagement in table talk. These include: the socialization of age and gender norms at home (Ochs, Paugh) and the acquisition of neoliberal ideologies about ethnicity and class at school (Karrebæk, Riley); gendered exchanges on the hunting trail (Jarvenpa) and the internecine rivalries of French village festivals (Jourdan); the textual production and labeling of “authentic” sausage (Cavanaugh) and the mediatization of food safety panics (Jourdan); the classing of wine (Silverstein) and the branding of soda (Manning); the representation of fat (Meneley) and the national significance of fried rat (Wilk;, the preparation of meals out of endangered species (Patrick) and interspecies semiosis in slaughter houses (Garrett); the circulation of gender and ethnicity in public and private kitchens (Abarca, Williams-Forson) and the racialized gentrification of the cultural food economy in urban America (Beriss); the production of taste for ‘local’ and ‘authentic’ (Riley, Cavanaugh, Blum) and the popular consumption of ‘language gap’ rhetoric (Blum, Riley).

In other words, food talk value is produced, consumed, and circulated, both economically and symbolically, with the qualia at stake including health and taste, climate change and interspecies cruelty, social justice and identity politics. Foodways are semiotically read as a form of structured communication (Barthes, Levi-Strauss, Douglas…); communication about foodways include not only referential but also iconic (synaesthetic) signs of food (Parasecoli, Belasco, Frye and Bruner…); communication around food (i.e., in its presence) not only references but also indexes the food, reproducing and transforming old understandings of food values (Schieffelin, Counihan, Dossa, etc.); finally, communication also operates as metaphorical and instrumental forms of sustenance — healthy or not (Cramer et al). Thus, ideologies about food and language are both reflected in and forged by discursive food exchanges, prompting “acts of resistance” to systems of miscommunication and efforts to renovate ailing food systems. In this session, we will sketch out some of the areas that have yet to be explored, some of the methods with which to take this project on, some of the connections that may be made, and some of the steps that could be taken.

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SAFN Program Updates

A very timely reminder from SAFN program co-organizer Abigail Adams about events coming up this week!

This is your SAFN Programs Co-organizer for the AAA annual meetings, looking forward to seeing everyone at the incredible panels we have lined up and at the Distinguished Speaker, Award Presentation, and Reception (free food!), Friday, December 1, 7:45 pm. Our distinguished speaker this year is Paula J. Johnson, of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. You can read about her work here. In addition to her exciting talk, we will be presenting our awards at the same event. You can read about the recipients here and here, then come meet them! Many thanks to Ryan Adams, Rachel Black and Amanda Green, for their work on developing our AAA program this year.

I want to encourage everyone to join us as well at the SAFN Business Meeting, Friday, December 1,  from 12:15 to 1:30 pm. This is a well-run meeting, with great colleagues and some real work to do. This is your best chance to not only have your voice heard, but take up a leadership role in SAFN yourself.

And, many of us will be interested in panels and events of the Culture & Agriculture (C&A) section. Here are the highlights that I have found:

Wednesday, November 29, 4:30-6:15 pm, 2-0670, panel, The Tourism of Food and Nature Matters

Friday, December 1, 4:30-6:15 pm, 4-1295 Networking and Mentoring in the Anthropology of Agriculture and the Environment

Friday, December 1, 9-10:15 pm, C&A Reception.

Best wishes for your work and travels in November until we gather in Washington, DC.

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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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2017 Thomas Marchione Award Winner!

We are very happy to announce the 2017 winner of the Thomas Marchione Food-as-a-Human-Right Student Award. This annual prize is awarded to a student whose work continues and expands Dr. Marchione’s efforts toward food justice, food security and access, and most directly, food as a human right. The award is presented to the awardee at the SAFN distinguished lecture and award ceremony at the annual AAA meetings (see our last blog entry for more information on that glorious event). The winner will receive a cash prize ($750 this year) and a one -year membership to the AAA and SAFN.

This year’s award goes to Paula Fernandez-Wulff, for her essay “Harnessing Local Food Policies for the Right to Food.” Paula Fernandez-Wulff is currently a Fulbright-Schuman Visiting Researcher at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Legal Sciences at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium). Her current research focuses on the role of municipalities in implementing the right to food through local policies – with a particular eye to those policies aimed at supporting local initiatives and social movements at large. Trained as a lawyer in France and Spain, she also holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Governance from United Nations University (UNU-IAS) in Tokyo.

The abstract for her essay is below. Congratulations!

Harnessing Local Food Policies for the Right to Food

Local policy-makers, particularly in cities, are beginning to recognize the importance of developing food policies from a human rights perspective. While the right to food provides a unique counter-narrative to prevailing power imbalances, structural inequality, and injustices in the food system, experiences from different cities around the world show that translating these ideas into local policy is not an obvious task. One of the reasons behind this is that, despite identified opportunities, rights-based approaches to local food policies have not accounted for, on the one hand, recent developments in the right to food at the international and national levels, including new rights-based struggles and the opening of new human rights’ frontiers; and on the other, the exponential growth in territorialization processes (i.e. areas of increased actor interactions defined by place specific social relations and practices) with the food system at their core. This research project provides some answers by splitting the issue into two questions: (1) can a human rights-based approach to local food policies deliver on its promises, while evolving to integrate these new realities? And if so, (2) how can municipal governments leverage such approaches to successfully implement the right to food? The EU and the US are two regions prominently exploring the potential of local food policies from diametrically opposed perspectives. Using a ‘law in context’ approach, and based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in both regions, this research project will provide a comparative view on some of the processes behind key policies on both sides of the Atlantic. It will do so by focusing on recognized human rights principles such as accountability, nondiscrimination, and participation, but also emerging ones including social justice, empowerment and agency, and equity – all key features of the human right to food.

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Filed under AAA 2017 Washington DC, anthropology, anthropology of food, human rights, Thomas Marchione

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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Filed under AAA 2017 Washington DC, anthropology, anthropology of food

Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Public Health Nutrition

We just received this job announcement that will certainly be of interest to SAFN members!

The Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont seeks a faculty member in the area of public health nutrition. This 9-month tenure-track position involves undergraduate/graduate teaching and research related to public health nutrition and the translation of such research into policy, programs and practices.  Effective date of the position is 9/1/2018.

The successful candidate will be expected to teach at all levels, advise undergraduate and graduate master’s and doctoral students, and provide mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students, along with professional contributions and service.  Potential teaching topics may include but are not limited to nutrition, public health nutrition, community nutrition, global health and population health. This individual will support the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in dietetics, nutrition, food sciences and food systems.

In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to undertake an active program of research in topics related to public health nutrition that leads to publication and/or presentation in peer-reviewed scholarly outlets and to seek extramural funding for that research.

The candidate must have an earned doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., Dr.P.H., Sc.D.) in a relevant field at time of appointment with expertise in one or more of the following: nutrition and health disparities, nutrition and food security, nutrition and global health, nutrition and food choice, nutrition and sustainability, community nutrition, nutrition and population health. Teaching experience and a scholarly track record is preferred.  Applications will be reviewed beginning November 1, 2017. 

There are numerous opportunities to work within a trans-disciplinary context with others in the greater University community.  Depending on the candidate’s area of expertise, there are opportunities for collaborative research activities with researchers affiliated with Food Systems, the Institute for the Environment, the College of Medicine and other departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Applicants should apply by submitting an on-line application through the UVM employment website (https://www.uvmjobs.com/postings/26917).  Applications should include the following 1) cover letter including a statement of research aims and teaching philosophy 2) curriculum vitae, and 3) list of three professional references.

The University is especially interested in candidates who can demonstrate a commitment to diversity through their research, teaching and/or service.  Applicants are requested to include in their cover letter information about how they will further this goal.  The University of Vermont is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer.  The Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences is committed to increasing faculty diversity and welcomes applications from women and underrepresented ethnic, racial and cultural groups and from people with disabilities. 

Founded in 1791, UVM has been called one of the “public ivies” and is consistently ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the UVM-NFS website: www.uvm.edu/nfs and the city of Burlington, Vermont website: http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/.

 

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NYU Food Studies Post Doc Opportunity

Here is a great opportunity for a recent PhD…note that anthropological perspectives are especially welcome!

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University (2018-19)

The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU invites applications from outstanding candidates for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. The position is within the Food Studies Program. It is available for one year. Candidates must have an earned PhD, with potential for outstanding research or public scholarship in an area aligned with the department’s work as specified below:

GOALS and SUBJECT AREAS

  1. Advance the field of Food Studies
  • expand the boundaries of the field or sharpen its focus
  • demonstrate the importance of Food Studies for other disciplines and/or public engagement
  • advance the profile of Food Studies within NYU and outside it
  • strengthen networks with other Food Studies or relevant programs elsewhere
  1. Emphasis will be placed on the cultural and social elements of Food Studies
  • historical, modern and critical cultural, sociological, geographical, and anthropological approaches will be prioritized
  1. Selection will reward candidates whose work addresses local-global connections, particularly in urban centers
  • boundary crossing and exchange (intra and inter-ethnic, international, etc.)
  • global circulations of people, ideas, and products
  • city geographies, demographics, and food environments
  1. Particular attention will be paid to candidates whose work
  • merges aesthetic/cultural and economic/material dimensions
  • projects that engage seriously with taste, pleasure, and identity alongside issues of regulation, transportation, commercialization, or other biophysical aspects of food production and consumption
  • candidates who can show competency in using mapping software and have affinity for the digital humanities (e.g.: CartoDB; Omeka; etc.)

FELLOWSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES

Fellows will be expected to:

  • Continue research and expand their contribution to the field of Food Studies while at NYU
    • publish in appropriate academic journals
    • present in appropriate academic conferences
  • Play an active role in the Program, Department, broader NYU and Food Studies community
    • Present their research formally at least once during the year (ideally once per semester, in different formats and with different audiences)
  • attend and participate regularly in relevant talks within the department and beyond
  • nurture relationships with students and faculty
  • Teach one or two courses in a year (to be determined in discussion with the Chair and the Program Director)
  • Support the program for relevant initiatives (such as grant writing, aiding in partnership development and organizing colloquia).

Applicants must send:

1) CV (2-pages maximum)

2) two reference letters (to be sent directly to amy.bentley@nyu.edu and matt.vanzo@nyu.edu ),

3) a statement (2 pages) describing a one-year research plan, publication preparation or a public humanities plan.

The application package should be sent to matt.vanzo@nyu.edu and amy.bentley@nyu.edu (electronic submission of one complete PDF file is required).

Subject line should say Food Studies Postdoc.

The deadline for submission is November 15th 2017. If the search is successful the term will begin in September 2018 or soon after.

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Filed under anthropology, Food Studies