Tag Archives: food studies

American Food

There is a lot of innovative teaching being done in food studies and we like to feature it here whenever we hear about it. Last year we noted that Emily Contois’ students at Brown had produced an interesting blog about Food and Gender in US Popular Culture. We were interested to see what she might come up with next. This year it is a student blog on the idea of American Food. The project grew out of a class she co-taught with Professor Richard Meckel on “Food in American Society and Culture” at Brown University. The texts range from thoughts on immigrant foods, to the role of convenience foods, American food in cross-cultural context, and much more. Interesting contrasts—between health and indulgence, for instance—are explored. There is a pretty nifty Pinterest board to go with it as well.

Go check it out. And send us your student projects! We would be happy to share them with the world.

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Filed under anthropology, Food Studies, pedagogy

CFP: Food Security in the Pacific

Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania Annual Meeting

New Orleans, Louisiana

January 30 to February 4, 2018

Deadline for Submissions: 1 November 2017

As the effects of climate change increasingly shift the conditions of everyday life within the Pacific region, food security has come to the fore as a pressing concern. Changes in ocean temperature have shifted fish populations, rising water tables have changed soil salinity, and an increasingly globalized food system has created economies of import dependence. The organizers of this informal session invite participants working on issues of food security, sovereignty, and indigenous food knowledge, in order to explore how growing, provisioning, and eating are negotiated within Pacific Island communities. We invite these conversations to be wide-ranging, and to engage questions of gendered labor, new technology, epistemology, abundance and scarcity, and changes over time. We are also interested in the historical conditions that make and unmake ways of eating and engaging with the environment, including colonialism, modernity, migration, and trans-Pacific networks. Contributions are welcomed from a range of theoretical perspectives that critically interrogate how food economies, cultures, politics and cultural representations shape lives and livelihoods in the contemporary Pacific.

Themes could include, but are not limited to, critical consideration of:

• Frameworks of food security, food self-sufficiency and food sovereignty within Pacific contexts;

 • Analysis of contemporary and historical food politics, including different food and farming movements and campaigns, particular land and resource struggles and other considerations of the political economy of food;

• Changing practices of food provisioning in relation to reproductive work, intra-household inequalities, time burdens and time poverty;

• Informal food exchange and trading networks and the continued importance of subsistence livelihood practices for Pacific food security;

• Changing food security practices and food cultures in relation to diaspora, migration, displacement and environmental degradation of woodsheds;

• Reflections on the changing meanings, uses and uptake of Pacific staple foods, including the promotion of particular crops for food security and nutrition (e.g. breadfruit);

 • Relationships between cash crop economies, food exports and household food production/security;

• Critical perspectives on nutrition discourses and food, health, development interventions and biopolitics in Pacific contexts;

• Food aesthetics, practices and economies of desire in relation to militarization and tourism in the Pacific;

• the status of ocean resources, fisheries and marine management in Pacific Oceania;

• Representations of food in indigenous Pacific knowledge production and cultural representations, as well as in Western production of knowledge about the Pacific.

Participants interested in this session are invited to contact the co-organizers with a suggested topic of interest, intention to participate, or any questions that you might have.

Hiʻilei Julia Hobart: hiilei.hobart@northwestern.edu

Amanda Friend Shaw: a.f.shaw@lse.ac.uk

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Filed under anthropology, anthropology of food, CFP, Oceania

Great Food Conference Program

Los Angeles is one of the great food cities of the world. So, logically, it should be one of the great places to have a food studies conference. That is the hypothesis we are working with and it is up to you to go study the matter. To do that, you may want to attend the annual joint conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, this coming June 14-17. It will be held on the campus of Occidental College, in, of course, Los Angeles.

The preliminary schedule is available on the conference web site. This should help you decide whether you want to attend. The scholarly program is on June 15-17, but there are several interesting looking events, including workshops and tours, on June 14 that could give you a reason to arrive a day earlier.

If you are presenting research at the conference (and a number of SAFN members are!), you need to be sure to register by today (4/30/2017) to be included on the final program. Whether you are presenting at the conference or not, we hope to see a good turnout of SAFN people there. We will try to organize some sort of informal gathering of SAFN members at the conference this year. Details to follow!

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CFP: The Future of Food Studies

We recently received this call for papers for a graduate student conference that should be of interest to our members or their students. At the very end of this CFP there is a note about the Graduate Association for Food Studies that ought to interest any graduate student with interests in food.

Call For Papers

The 2nd Annual

Future of Food Studies Graduate Conference

St. Louis  —  October 19-21, 2017

presented by the Graduate Association for Food Studies with major funding from

The Association for the Study of Food and Society and 

Washington University in St. Louis

The Future of Food Studies

The Graduate Association for Food Studies is pleased to announce the second annual Future of Food Studies graduate student conference, to be held 19-21 October 2017, at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The keynote speaker will be Professor Krishnendu Ray, acclaimed food studies scholar and chair of the Food Studies department at New York University. Additionally, a select number of student papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in the Graduate Journal of Food Studies, an open-source, peer-reviewed graduate journal that publishes food-related research.  Learn more about our 2015 conference at Harvard University here.

Below you will find the Call for Papers; please feel free to distribute to any and all graduate students who you think may be interested.

Thanks to generous funding from the Association for the Study of Food and Society and Washington University, modest support may be available in some cases to partially subsidize travel expenses of some conference participants, with priority granted to those traveling from afar.

For proposal/abstract guidelines, a provisional schedule, and further details, please visit the conference website.

—–

Food studies has arrived. It is hard to imagine that two decades ago, scholars seriously considered food only in a few disciplines, usually at the margins. As food studies has exploded across disciplines, the field now boasts its own professional associations, journals, and undergraduate and graduate programs at institutions around the world. In addition, the past decade has seen a surge of public interest in food, from food trucks to urban farming to The Hunger Games—even as food security remains unattainable or elusive for billions of people. Food has never been more relevant to academic inquiry.

As food studies has risen to prominence, scholars have emphasized that we can use food as a lens to examine nearly any topic. Yet it is clear that food studies must grapple with many questions, including questions about the field’s own identity. With food studies becoming increasingly institutionalized, how will the discipline continue to evolve? What new subjects, methods, or theories will reshape the study of food in coming years? What areas of food culture and politics urgently need academic attention? And how can the discipline stay relevant when public interest in food inevitably wanes? Emerging scholars at the forefront of the discipline offer exciting answers to these questions.

This conference seeks graduate scholarship that presents original approaches to food studies, whether applying creative theories and methods to established questions or subjects, or interrogating unconsidered topics in novel ways.  As a fundamentally interdisciplinary subject of study, we welcome papers from the fields of anthropology, history, sociology, english, cultural studies, american studies, gender studies, economics, art, politics, pedagogy, nutrition, philosophy, and religion, as well as other disciplines. We expect to assemble graduate students from an array of disciplines and a broad geographic expanse.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

·        the ethics of terroir and sustainability;

·        agriculture and agrarian change in the Anthropocene;

·        medicinal or ‘drug’ foods across history;

·        innovation across the food system;

·        food and the body;

·        food sovereignty and food insecurity;

·        the politics of public health and nutrition;

·        emergent culinary diaspora(s);

·        food and value;

·        food, identity, and authenticity;

·        food, media, and representation ;

·        food, eating, and race;

·        food, agriculture, and empire;

·        food history.

Proposals (papers or full panels) should be submitted by June 15, 2017, and must include an abstract (250 words) of the paper to be presented and a brief biographical statement (100 words).

For thematic continuity, we strongly encourage proposals for pre-organized panels of up to three presentations. For panels, each speaker must send their own abstract, and indicate the names of the other speakers with whom they will share the panel at the bottom of their abstract. Panel proposals without all three speakers’ individual proposals submitted will not be accepted.  Only proposals from graduate students will be considered. Select papers will also be considered for publication in a special issue of the Graduate Journal of Food Studies.

See the conference website for more details and to submit an abstract.

Deadline for proposals: June 15, 2017


ABOUT THE GAFS

The Graduate Association for Food Studies (GAFS) is an interdisciplinary academic community founded in the spring of 2014 with the goals of connecting graduate students interested in food and promoting their exceptional work. The Association publishes the digital Graduate Journal of Food Studies and hosts the Future of Food Studies conference for graduate students to present, discuss, and network. Our first Conference took place in 2015 at Harvard University with an upcoming conference at Washington University in St. Louis in October 2017. We are the official graduate student caucus of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS).

Rooted in a network of senior graduate students pursuing food studies scholarship in a rigorous fashion, the Graduate Association for Food Studies provides peer-to-peer advice, support, and professional development. Join the GAFS to build your CV as well as your knowledge of the pragmatics of peer review, editing, book reviews, and publishing—and meet other grad students interested in food studies, from all over the world.

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, April 21, 2017

David Beriss

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 dberiss@gmail.com or hunterjo@gmail.com.

As the Trump administration nears its 100 day mark, it is worth noting that the US Department of Agriculture, with over 100,000 employees spread out over 29 agencies, regulating parts of an industry that contributes around $992 billion to the U.S. economy, is still without a confirmed leader. Lack of leadership has not stopped the Trump administration from acting, however. For instance, a rule proposed under the Obama administration that would have protected the rights of farmers to sue corporations for whom they raise chickens and hogs has been suspended for six months—and possibly permanently—much to the dismay of some of those farmers. The unconfirmed nominee has had a hearing, with mixed reviews, as you can see here and here.

Also on agriculture, but on a more global scale, the Lancet has recently started an open access online publication, “The Lancet Planetary Health,” that will focus on “human health within the context of climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity, food and nutrition, sustainable fishing, agricultural productivity, environmental exposures to contaminents, waste management, air quality, or water and airbourne diseases.” The first issue is worth a look. It includes an editorial about the role of smallholder farms in the global food system and several related articles.

And while we are still thinking about agriculture, take a look at this article and short film about a form of urban agriculture that is rarely discussed. The focus here is on farmers in Guangzhou, China, who continue to farm even as their village has vanished around them, replaced by endless rows of skyscrapers. This process is an old one, but watching this raises a lot of questions about food, culture, and the future of our food supply.

There has been a lot written about American barbecue cultures and racism in recent years. This New Yorker article, by Lauren Collins, focuses on the particularly bitter history and present of Maurice’s Piggie Park, in South Carolina. Collins does a great job of unpacking the nuances of this particular story in a way that would make for a great discussion starter in a class on…food, racism, American society, or the country’s political present. Alas, this is an article about barbecue that may cause you to lose your appetite.

From the UK, we have this interesting observation about a new restaurant in Seattle that will feature foods from the American South…served with an “encyclopedia” that explains the cuisine. The idea is to combat racist perspectives associated with the cuisine.  Food that insists you think.

Everyone wants to know where their food comes from, but who looks at how it gets to you? This episode of the podcast Bite focuses on an interview with Alexis Madrigal, who has his own podcast series on the world of containers and shipping. In this instance, he discusses the place of small batch coffee in the world of enormous containerized shipping. The way this shapes the world of food is really so huge that it is hard to fully grasp. You should listen to this; it is where much of what you eat comes from. Also, the podcast starts with a brief segment on Indian cooks in America who are thrilled with their Instant Pot electric pressure cookers…which ought to be inspiring for anyone who has one.

Many people are distressed at the demise of Lucky Peach, which provided a place for all kinds of food writing that was hard to find elsewhere (at least in an accessible format). For an example of why, read this amusing (yet possibly serious) article on the most beautiful Taco Bell in the world. Also, if you draw, you could join the Taco Bell Drawing Club.

Why are so many people being asked to work for free? This has been a crisis in the arts for a while, of course. Internships, mostly unpaid, seem increasingly necessary for college students before they can hope to start developing careers. Unpaid labor is also an important part of the world of food, with cooking school graduates and other aspiring cooks often engaging in “stages” (one of the culinary world’s words for “internship”) in restaurants. How useful is this? How exploitative? Is it even really legal? Corey Mintz explores these questions by looking at the astonishing extent to which the world’s most elite restaurants actually depend on unpaid labor.

The hipster food world is in love with mobile food vendors, perhaps best represented by trendy food trucks. Along with trendy trucks, a lot of food vending happens in carts that sell nearly every imaginable food.  This very useful article by Tejal Rao illustrates a day in the life of a New York City food vendor. His food looks great, by the way, but it is the result of hard work and what look like terrible economics.

In the realm of obscure-but-fascinating items, historian Paul Freedman provides this brief overview of the history of food at private clubs. The article includes lists and photos of current specialties at a variety of clubs around the U.S. One might expect the food to be rarified and elegant, but the photo of macaroons with Halloween candy corn suggests otherwise.

Finally, the first round of the French presidential elections is this Sunday (4/23). The outcome is anything but certain and, depending on your politics, you may need a drink afterwards. A French friend recently sent a clip from the movie “Le Tatoué,” with Jean Gabin and Louis de Funès demonstrating how to eat and drink with gusto. Even without faith in French politics, this should inspire everyone to have at least some faith in French cuisine, no matter the outcome. Remember this advice: “Manger des tripes sans cidre, c’est aller à Dieppe sans voir la mer.” Enjoy.

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Filed under agriculture, anthropology, anthropology of food, film, Food Studies

AAA CFP: Circulations, Logics, and Logistics of Food

We are looking for 1 more paper for the following session. Please send abstracts to Micah M. Trapp, mmtrapp@memphis.edu, by Tuesday Apr. 11th.

Circulations, Logics, and Logistics of Food

In The Mushroom at the End of the World, Anna Tsing describes capitalism as a translation machine: mushrooms transpire and are plucked from the forest, generating a variety of gift and commodity forms. Asking what it is that can possibly live in the ruins of capitalism, Tsing’s meditative account reveals the complex and transformative potential of the mushroom as an invasive, magical spore and multifarious source of meaning and value. The mushroom demands that we follow where it is that our food resources go, but also the generative life along these pathways to understand the emergence of conflicted and conflicting forms of meaning and value. In this session we consider how food circulates. We treat circulation broadly as transformational force and evoke different theoretical understandings of the ways food moves to explore how meanings and value accumulate and dissipate in our food systems.

Following classic studies of political economy, circulation tracks processes from production to consumption. Situated within theories of a moral economy, circulations articulate social relationships and values. As a semiotic endeavor, the circulation of food transpires through imagery and representations. Circulation is also an embodied phenomenon, foods circulate through and nourish the human body, while pesticides invade and seep through the pores of farmworkers. Nested within discursive politics, “healthy foods” circulate bodily ideals and discrimination, while advocates of food access aim to remedy the unequal circulations of food.

Papers will seek to unearth and articulate underlying connections between food logics—the social frameworks we use to explain, motivate, and propel food-based action—and food logistics, the systems, connections, and exchanges required to sustain human nourishment. How does one’s logic of farming, for example, intersect with the logistics of operating a viable business? How do the logistics of subsidized food supply chains refract upon the logics of humanitarianism or social welfare? Distribution, attendant inequalities, and the hope for equality lie at the heart of our inquiries as we consider how food logics and logistics shift from reciprocal links and fluid movements to strangleholds and breaking points.

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, April 3, 2017

David Beriss

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 dberiss@gmail.com or hunterjo@gmail.com.

Let’s start with U.S. policies that can have an impact on what we eat and drink. Over at Modern Farmer, Brian Barth has this round-up of cheery news, from the incredibly slow confirmation process for President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Agriculture (still not confirmed), to proposed budget cuts for USDA and EPA, and opposition to something called (not by its authors), the “filthy food act.”

On that last point, you can read more about the effort to streamline government regulations (as it pertains to food) in a variety of places. On the broad issue of regulatory reform, this article from Politico provides a helpful overview. It is worth being skeptical of anyone who claims that they just want to make government more efficient, especially if the areas in which they focus their efforts happen to benefit their supporters. This editorial at Food Safety News makes the case that the regulatory reform proposed by the current administration will significantly undermine the regulation of food safety. Here is another analysis, from the Environmental Defense Fund.

On the proposed budget cuts, this article from Civil Eats, points out some of the effects of the president’s proposed budget on the regulation of food, on agriculture, and on food-related workers. It is, of course, only a proposed budget blueprint, not real appropriations for real agencies. However, the proposed budget is meant to provide insight into the new administration’s priorities, in case you were wondering about them.

We all probably know that kids who are not hungry do better in school. According to this article from The Atlantic, recent research in American schools suggests that better quality school lunches can improve student learning (or at least test scores) too. The idea that studies like this are necessary to justify feeding children better food at school tells us a great deal about American thinking about food, education, children, and more.

On the NPR blog The Salt, yet another reminder that the food industry (in this case, restaurants, bars, and agriculture) plays a significant role in human trafficking. Many people find themselves working in what amounts to slavery. The article refers to a recent report human trafficking and modern slavery, which you can find here.

The state of Arkansas recently passed legislation that would make anyone who takes pictures or videos of activities in nonpublic areas of private businesses subject to civil penalties. This is being criticized as “ag-gag” legislation because it was written to protect the poultry industry from animal rights activists. As it is written, the law could also limit the activities of whistleblowers in any number of industries.

What might those activists want to photograph? Perhaps meat processing plants. In Brazil, one of the world’s largest meatpacking companies is in the middle of a scandal in which its employees have been selling rancid meat to schools, grocery stores, etc. This article, from Civil Eats, points out that even if you buy only locally produced meat, you may still feel the global effects of the industrial meat industry.

From pemmican and tourtière, to poutine and Tim Horton’s donuts, this interesting article uses iconic foods to tell a story about Canadian history. Fascinating, to be sure, but also clearly just a start. Still, you have to give the author, Ian Mosby, credit for hard eyed realism. He includes fish sticks, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, pablum, and other items that one generally does not associate with the word “cuisine” but that have had a real impact on everyday diets.

While we are in Canada, it is interesting to consider the ongoing debates around the links between food and ethnicity. This article, by Sara Peters, makes a case against something called “culinary gentrification,” which is the appropriation of foods (or of discourses about food) of an immigrant group by people in positions of greater power. The setting is Toronto, where there are indeed many kinds of people and foods.

Just when you thought it was safe to talk about urban agriculture, Wayne Roberts decided to review three books and insist on the use of the plural—urban agricultures—when discussing the topic. That covers an actual serious set of questions and issues that really are worth thinking about, like the relationship between urban agriculture(s) and urban planning, or the ways people can make urban agricultural practices part of their lives (like, I assume, cleaning up after your dog). There are a lot of ideas covered here, many of which could be of use in urban anthropology or food and culture classes.

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