October 15, 2017
Texas, United States
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Popular Culture Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Film and Film History
Call for Papers
“Food and . . . ” Conference
March 29-31, 2018
Humanities Center at Texas Tech
The Humanities Center at Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas) is happy to announce a call for papers for our first Annual Conference in the Humanities. The conference topic each year aligns with the Center’s annual theme, which for 2017-2018 is “Food and …”. Ways into the "what" following the ellipsis in "Food and..." may fall into myriad categories: culture, literature, politics, environment, technology, health, malnutrition, access, education, inequities, media representations, depictions in fine art, sustainability, ecology(s), local food, translation, small scale agriculture, agribusiness, taboo, packaging, eating disorders, marketing, terroir, and gastronomy. This list is not exhaustive.
The explosion of food studies at the end of the twentieth century was an institutional response to the myriad ways in which food might be approached by scholars, and the field has only expanded in the intervening years. Humanistic ways of looking at food run the gamut from primary source in material culture to semiotic tool; from literary trope to exchangeable commodity; from colonial weapon to method of cultural resistance; from obsession either due to absence or to fetish; from comfort, reassurance, and sustenance to oddity or source of disgust; from sin to salvation; from welcoming gesture to coercive faux hospitality; and from political bribe to political rallying point. “Food and . . . ” crosses disciplines and invites many kinds of thinkers and critical conversations. We all eat, yet what counts as appealing, nourishing, traditional food in one culture is repulsive in another. As the introduction to a recent anthology of essays on food and theatre notes, food carries "symbolic and material unwieldiness," showing "comestibles and their consumption to be both bedrock and flashpoints of cultural identity." The myriad conceptualizations and human experiences of food offer the critic, the thinker, and the eater a prime node of analysis—a "place at the table" of intellectual and public discourse.
The conference aims to bring together an international group of scholars in order to interrogate the polyvalent uses of food in human life. Prominent food critic and memoirist Ruth Reichl will offer the conference keynote lecture and performance artists Spatula and Barcode will present an interactive seder as the all-conference dinner on Friday, March 30th—the first night of Passover.
The TTU Humanities Center welcomes abstracts for individual papers as well as proposals for fully formed panels that address these or other related issues. Potential speakers should send an abstract of 300 words and a brief CV (no more than 2 pages) highlighting work relevant to the topic at hand. Scholars proposing a panel should provide an abstract of no more than 500 words and include a list of contributors (with the titles of their papers) as well as brief CVs (no more than 2 pages) for each. Abstracts and panel proposals should be submitted to email@example.com by October 15, 2017 with all documents contained in a single PDF. In the subject line of your submission, please use the format “Food Conference/YOUR NAME/YOUR PROPOSAL or ABSTRACT TITLE” (e.g., Food Conference/Smith/Eating Rules) as the subject line in your email. We will make decisions as soon as possible after that in order to ensure sufficient time for participants to make travel arrangements.
Dorothy Chansky, Director of the Humanities Center at Texas Tech University