Tag Archives: Industrial food

CFP: Industrial French Food and Its Critics

A call for papers of potential interest to FoodAnthropology readers:

Industrial French Food and Its Critics

French food is steeped in contradictions. The French are often admired for their food culture and superior eating habits, which are in turn associated with artisanal production and convivial consumption. But the French agroindustrial food complex is a global powerhouse that runs on chemical inputs, intensive production methods, and international dumping practices. In this special issue of Modern and Contemporary France, titled “Industrial French Food and Its Critics,” these contradictions will be put into conversation with each other. By exploring the postwar evolution of French food, in all of its inconsistency, this special issue will call into question our assumptions about French food culture by revealing the multiple food cultures that have developed simultaneously through the postwar period.

Possible topics that contributors might explore:

  • French farming in European, colonial, and global contexts
  • The rise of restauration rapide
  • The industrial model and its economic and ecological discontents
  • Colonial and postcolonial production and consumption; transculturation through foodways
  • Organized resistance to the industrial model: Confédération paysanne, protests
  • Non-industrial forms of food production and consumption: organic agriculture, urban agriculture, jardins ouvriers, Slow Food, AMAP
  • Eco-critical approaches to food and its producers in literature, cinema, and popular culture
  • The contraction of agriculture and the rewilding of the French countryside
  • Haute cuisine, gastronomy, and terroir
  • Challenges to French agricultural power: BRIC nations, GMOs and trade deals, lawsuits at the WTO

This list is not exhaustive and potential contributors are invited to submit proposals on any and all aspects of the industrial food system in postwar France.

Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words, along with short CVs, to the guest editors, Venus Bivar and Tamara Whited, at vbivar@wustl.edu and twhited@iup.edu by August 15th. The list of contributors will be finalized by September 15th. Papers, not to exceed 8,000 words (excluding notes) will be due April 15th, 2018.

APPEL A CONTRIBUTIONS

La pratique alimentaire française est imprégnée de contradictions.  On admire souvent les Français pour leur culture de la table et leurs habitudes alimentaires supérieures, souvent associées à des choix de produits artisanaux et au repas convivial.  Paradoxalement le complexe agroindustriel français est une puissance globale fondée sur l’utilisation systématique d’engrais chimiques, des méthodes de production intensives, et des pratiques de dumping à l’échelle internationale.  Dans ce numéro spécial de Modern and Contemporary France, intitulé « l’Alimentation industrielle française et ses critiques », ces contradictions seront mises en dialogue les unes avec les autres.  En explorant les transformations de l’alimentation française et ses incohérences depuis la deuxième guerre mondiale, ce numéro remettra en question nos a priori relatifs à la culture alimentaire française et révélera des cultures alimentaires multiples qui n’ont cessé de se développer simultanément depuis la période d’après-guerre.

Parmi les sujets possibles:

  • l’agriculture française dans ses contextes européens, coloniaux, et mondiaux
  • le développement de la restauration rapide
  • le système industriel et ses défis économiques et écologiques
  • la production et consommation coloniales; la transculturation des habitudes et pratiques alimentaires
  • les résistances organisées face au système industriel: manifestations, la Confédération paysanne, les néo-ruraux
  • les méthodes anti-industrielles de production et consommation: le bio, l’agriculture urbaine, les jardins ouvriers, le Slow Food, les AMAP
  • les analyses écocritiques des représentations de l’agriculture dans la litérature, le cinéma, et la culture populaire
  • la contraction de l’agriculture et la désertification de la France rurale
  • Haute cuisine, gastronomie, terroir
  • les nouveaux défis lancés au pouvoir agricole de la France: les nations BRICS, les OGM et les accords commerciaux, les causes portées devant l’OMC

Cette liste n’est évidemment pas exhaustive, et les contributeurs sont invités à soumettre toute proposition portant sur les enjeux agro-industriels.

Nous vous prions d’envoyer un abrégé de 250 mots, avec également votre curriculum vitae aux deux éditeurs, Venus Bivar et Tamara Whited, à vbivar@wustl.edu et twhited@iup.edu avant le 15 aout.  La liste des auteurs retenus sera annoncée avant le 15 septembre.  Les articles, limités à 8.000 mots (notes non-incluses), devront être soumis aux éditeurs avant le 15 avril 2018.

Venus Bivar and Tamara Whited

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Filed under anthropology, CFP, France

Mill City Museum

David Beriss

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

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Mill City Museum

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

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

cadwallader_colden_washburn

Cadwallader C. Washburn

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

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

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

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Filed under AAA 2016 Minneapolis, anthropology, Food Studies