Tag Archives: food studies

A “Hoppy” Bubble? Linking Labor and Capital in Washington State’s Beer and Cannabis Industries

Blog Editor’s note: This is the second installment in FoodAnthropology’s series on Latinx foodways in North America. We welcome contributions from researchers in this area. More details about the series are here

Megan A. Carney
University of Arizona, School of Anthropology and Center for Regional Food Studies

Every fall in the Pacific Northwest, craft brewers and beer connoisseurs alike anxiously anticipate the availability of freshly harvested hops. Ranging from mid-August to mid-October, almost every brewer in the trade premieres a fresh hop beer. The widespread and increasing demand for freshly harvested hops turns the craft beer scene into some kind of frenzy: brewers buy as much as they can as soon as the hops are available and then proudly display their piling heaps of green and gold treasures – mounds of the fresh hop buds – with much fanfare to salivating beer aficionados. The hop bud enjoys much attention, even worship, during this time of year, its image projected onto all forms of marketing and advertising from bottle labels to bumper stickers and billboards.

Washington State’s Yakima Valley is one of the most productive hop-growing regions in the United States, accounting for more than 70 percent of total hop cultivation nationally. It is a $380 million industry that generates over 65 million pounds of popular hop varieties such as Centennial, Amarillo, and Cascade. While an agricultural tradition has thrived in the Yakima Valley for many generations, due in part to its proximity to the Columbia River and fertile soils, more growers have gradually begun cultivating hops. Hops production has been increasing since the turn of the nineteenth century with a particularly sharp increase in 2005.

The elevated status of hops, however, and its near fetishization among brewers and consumers tend to obscure the labor processes and larger shifts in agricultural land use that have enabled the increased availability of hops. Harvesting hops is a labor-intensive process despite certain advances in mechanizing hops production. Migrant workers, whose origins trace from Mexico and Central America predominantly, perform the bulk of this highly skilled labor. One brewery even recently released a beer to pay homage to this migrant workforce. Since hops harvesting is seasonal, these migrant workers often migrate to other regions of the United States in search of work in other seasonal industries. While migrant labor has historically sustained much of the agricultural production in the Yakima Valley, the increasing demand for highly-skilled migrant workers in hops cultivation and harvesting due to the industry’s rapid expansion is a more recent development.

Much remains unknown regarding the specific labor and living conditions of migrant workers employed in the hops industry. However, studies of migrant farmworkers in the Yakima Valley have found substandard living conditions, numerous occupational hazards, high rates of food insecurity, chronic health conditions, and inadequate or limited access to health care as characterizing the daily struggles of this population. My research aims to understand the lived experiences of these workers, specifically the daily and seasonal rhythms of their labor, living conditions, and broader effects for food insecurity and health. In addition, I seek to map the political-economic and institutional arrangements within which the lived experiences and life chances of workers in the hops industry and the “hop-crazed” brewers and consumers are connected.

The greater Seattle region has experienced rapid gentrification with unprecedented population growth during the past decade. Estimates are that the city grows by 1,000 new residents each week, many of them attracted to jobs with tech giants such as Amazon. These residents tend to be younger and wealthier as a whole, but with the city’s housing crisis, many are moving into what historically were more working-class neighborhoods. The shifting demographics of Seattle’s cityscape have been accompanied by the proliferation of microbreweries and recreational cannabis shops, the latter especially since Washington residents voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012. Meanwhile, crises loom around illicit drug use – particularly of heroin and other opioids – and widespread homelessness, troubling local residents, public health workers, and policymakers about specific actions to take. The growing demand for artisanal brews and high-quality cannabis among the region’s younger and more affluent residents on the one hand, and the gradual dispossession of the poor and growing homeless population on the other, arguably represent two sides of the same coin.

Another dimension of this research is probing into questions regarding shifts in land use toward hop and cannabis cultivation and the broader political-economic, environmental, and human health consequences. Food system scholars and practitioners consistently highlight the implications of shifting land-use from staple or edible crops intended for human consumption toward crops that support biofuel production, animal feed, or more “luxury” and recreational commodities. Hops and cannabis of course, tend to fit within the last category, notwithstanding arguments for how both crops may support human health in reducing stress and anxiety, or offering pain relief. Yet these crops – especially cannabis – also represent “big business” in generating revenues much higher per acre of yield than say an acre planted in pears or potatoes. Indeed, a substantial portion of Washington State’s land surface area devoted to agricultural purposes is now being cultivated for certain mind-altering substances and libations (e.g., grapes, apples, cannabis, hops). How the broader consequences of such shifts in land use unfold along lines of citizenship, class, and race within the greater Seattle region, Washington state, the Pacific Northwest foodshed, and beyond remain to be adequately understood.

Megan A. Carney is Assistant Professor in the School of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Regional Food Studies at the University of Arizona.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology, anthropology of food, beer, Food Studies, Latinx Series, wine

Collecting and Curating Food History for a Hungry Public

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is thrilled to announce our distinguished speaker for the Annual Meetings: Paula J. Johnson is a curator, project director, and public historian in the Division of Work and Industry at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  She is responsible for the food technology and marine resources collections and is the project director and co-curator for the exhibition, FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000, which opened in 2012. Johnson was one of the curators who collected the home kitchen of Julia Child in 2001, and developed the exhibition Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian.

Paula Johnson_2s

Paula Johnson

She will be delivering a talk at our reception which will be held on Friday, December 1st at 7:45pm, entitled “Collecting and Curating Food History for a Hungry Public”. Join us and enjoy appetizers and drinks while we reconnect and socialize! Following our distinguished speaker, we will present awards for the Christine Wilson Award and the Thomas Marchione Award.

To celebrate her participation, we are planning a special trip to visit the Food Exhibit at the Smithsonian the same day. Those who are interested in joining us should plan to meet at the Obelisk near the registration desk in the Marriott Lobby at 11:30am on Friday, or meet us at the doors of the Constitution Avenue Entrance of the National Museum of American History at noon. This is quite a large exhibit and covers a tremendous amount of historical and cultural territory. The New York Times described it in this way: “It explores changes in the way our food is grown, manufactured and distributed, with a look at how gender and immigration influence food, as well as the greater role of wine at the table.”Paula Johnson copper pots Julia Child

 

Presentation Title and Abstract

Collecting and Curating Food History for a Hungry Public

This presentation will explore how an interdisciplinary approach to food history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is creating new opportunities for research and a vibrant, multi-layered experience for museum visitors. By broadening its research, scholarship, and collecting of objects and archives, the museum’s food history team is building a solid foundation for the study of food history and culture in the United States. The team has also expanded its programmatic offerings to include live cooking demonstrations that link the history of ingredients, culinary techniques, and cultural traditions to larger themes and events in American history. Through experimentation with different program models and rigorous evaluations, the team is developing a new, sensory-rich menu for reaching diverse audiences and for creating new relationships and partnerships. This presentation will reveal lessons learned and encourage dialogue among participants.

Leave a comment

Filed under AAA 2017 Washington DC, anthropology, food history

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)

1 Comment

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

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under AAA, AAA 2017 Washington DC, anthropology, awards, Christine Wilson

What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, October 9, 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.

In the United States, food activists love to point to the French and their carefully demarcated terroirs for wine, cheese, and other products as an example of how to manage the relationship between food and place. Behind this image of careful attention to land and culture there is often a rough and even violent political history. To get a taste of that, listen to this interview with historian Andrew Smith about his recent book “Terror and Terroir: The Winegrowers of the Languedoc and Modern France” (Manchester University Press, 2016) from the New Books Network. This interview is conducted by Roxanne Panchasi and is part of the New Books in French Studies series.

On the subject of food and terror, New Books in American Studies has an interview with Bryant Simon, author of  The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives (The New Press, 2017). The immediate incident that is at the heart of this history is a fire in 1991 at a food factory in Hamlet, NC that resulted in the deaths of 25 people, but the broader framework is the combination of American tastes for cheap processed foods and the deregulated industry that produces them. Stephen Hausmann conducts the interview. There is also a New Books in Food series that is always looking for hosts, if you want to get on the ladder to podcast fame.

The popularity of those cheap processed food has been linked to the rise in obesity and other diet-related health issues in many countries. If you have read Frederick Errington, Tatsuro Fujikura, and Deborah Gewertz’s 2013 book “The Noodle Narratives: The Global Rise of an Industrial Food into the Twenty-First Century,” (University of California Press), then you are familiar with some of the ways those foods have become popular around the world. The New York Times Magazine published an excellent overview of this same process a few weeks ago, along with some rather stunning graphics. Share it with your students, start a great conversation.

In a related story, this piece from Bloomberg provides data on what Americans have been eating for the last few decades. When did we start eating more chicken than beef (sometime in the 90s)? What has happened to coffee consumption? Whatever happened to those California raisins? Americans are eating more mango, but fewer canned cherries. And we still love peanut butter. Enjoy the graphs too.

The survival of the American family farm is an ongoing struggle, as endless books and articles demonstrate. But the best of these also reflect on the broader historical and social context of that struggle. One of the more recent books in this genre is Ted Genoways’ book “This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm” (W.W. Norton, 2017). The book was the subject of a short piece on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, as well as an extended discussion on the NPR show On Point, both of which are worth listening too.

We have two strange and unexpected origin stories this week. First, the recent death of Hugh Hefner elicited a wide range of responses, which is not surprising, given his ambiguous legacy. However, one rather unexpected bit of history that popped up during all the discussions about Hefner’s history was his role in the start of Food and Wine Magazine. Food porn is not, it turns out, entirely metaphoric.

The Reuben Sandwich is a midwestern invention, at least according to this charming story from Elizabeth Weil, at Saveur. The story involves a conflict between Weil (whose grandfather seems to have invented the sandwich at a family-owned hotel in Omaha) and food historian Andrew Smith (not the same historian as the one above, by the way) that involved the New York Times. This also helps explain how a very un-kosher sandwich became an iconic Jewish deli food.

Is eating alone a bad thing? Some people think so, including writer Lloyd Alter, who begins his article with a citation from Baudrillard, “Sadder than the beggar is the man who eats alone in public.” Baudrillard meant this to be a critique of American society, but Alter takes it into the realm of actual physical health and links it to the aging population. There is probably an interesting theoretical point to be made related to French theory and American journalism, but meanwhile, it is an interesting read.

The debate around cultural appropriation may be a classic example of what the French mean by the phrase “dialogue de sourds” and we are happy to keep documenting it here. This piece, “Craving the Other: One Woman’s Beef With Cultural Appropriation and Cuisine,” from writer Soleil Ho, was originally published a few years ago and was recently republished in the 20th anniversary edition of Bitch Magazine. Has anything changed since it originally appeared?

Is the great American casual dining chain doomed? Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday’s, Houston’s, TGI Friday’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Friendly’s, and more, restaurants known for walls full of strange junk, waiters wearing flair, and huge piles of mostly inoffensive food, may be facing a crisis. This series from Eater.com explores the situation, raising questions about the American palate, the American middle class, and the fate of suburbia.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology, anthropology of food, food history, Food Studies

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/.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology, Food Studies, jobs, nutrition, public health

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology, Food Studies