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Call for Papers: Second Young Researchers Seminar Titled “Food for Thought” on April 18

[Following is an invite from Outreach Programme, JMI]

The Outreach Programme, Jamia Millia Islamia invites you to the Second Young Researchers’ Seminar titled “Food For Thought” on 18th April 2013:

Event Poster
Event Poster

Food stands at the intersection of various theoretical as well as cultural concerns. While on one hand Roland Barthes discusses wine as emblematic of French consciousness, as construed symbol of French identity, Claude Levi Strauss uses structuralism to read into the language of cooking, networks of a society’s structure.

Similarly, where on one hand food is understood as shaping the diasporic imagination in terms of ‘home’ and ‘heritage’, on the other the very authenticity of a “local” cuisine raises multiple questions in a fast changing and mutable “world without borders.” The representation of food and cooking in literature, movies, television and the internet as also other domains of popular culture has solicited multiple responses. There has been a concomitant growth in popular T.V shows such as Master Chef, Kitchen Champions and popular fast food joints which dot the cities these days. Critical discourses on the same have made some interesting postulations. Where Arjun Appadurai’s analysis of cookbooks typifies what goes into the making of a national cuisine, Niki Strange provides us with a sneak peek into various ‘alluring’ elements of cookery programmes.

While there is a proliferation of discourses around production of and innovation in food especially as represented in the media, a parallel and polar text of constant shortfall, famine and unavailability has not become altogether invisible either. Questions of ownership, hoarding, entitlement, market, starvation and so on thereby acquire acute pertinence today. Amartya Sen shares interesting insights when he draws a fine line between “functions of entitlement” and availability of food arguing that poverty and starvation operate in the domain of the former which is why despite ensuring respectable food supply, eradication of starvation stays a distant reality.

Although food has always been a site for articulation, critical focus on the same has sharpened in the past few decades. Vegan or vegetarian?, organic or processed? Are gradually becoming important cultural questions. Discourses around identity, gender, class, and globalization are all increasingly being seen from the prism of food cultures.

Therefore, we invite papers that will critically look at various strands of a burgeoning and ever expanding culture of gastronomy, culinary skills and alimentary cuisines. Food cultures across globe are pregnant with possibilities as their study stands at the crossroads of economics, biology, history, media, culture and literary studies.

Probable areas of exploration could be:
1. Food and Religion: Symbolism and society, prohibition and taboos.

2. Food and Body: Questions ranging from gender and sex to those concerning etiquettes and manners, lifestyle and health fads.

3. Food, History and Mythology: Tracing origins as well as focussing on appearances and references to food across different historical registers.

4. Food and Ecology: Effects of activities such as over-fishing or over-cultivation on ecology.

5. Food and Globalization: Is it possible to talk about ‘national’ or ‘ethnic’ food today? If so, with what implications for identity politics

6. Visual Food/Sensual Food: Looking at cook books, culinary shows on television and its permeance in the entertainment industry.

7. Production and Distribution of Food: Debates around the economics of food, food security, branding etc.

8. Dining-Out: The ‘glamorous’ business of food has led to an introduction of an uncanny amalgam of music, café’s, food and youth cultures.

9. Food and Popular Culture: Articulations of food in various domains of popular culture and its reception, new age icons etc.

The Outreach Programme, Jamia Millia Islamia invites submission of proposals for papers to be presented at the seminar from interested young researchers working on or having adequate academic interest in the area. Abstracts of approximately 350 words may be sent as MS-Word attachments via email to [email protected] latest by 25th March 2013.

The applicant must mention his/her current or past university/institute affiliation at the time of submission of the abstract. The organizers will inform the applicants of the final decision regarding the acceptance of their proposals by 1st April 2013.

The conference would be held on Jamia Millia Islamia campus on 18th April 2013. Each presenter would get a time slot of 30 minutes to present his/her paper together with discussion. Full length papers may be submitted to the organizers by 15th April 2013 for circulation during the conference. Papers presented at the conference may be considered for publication.

We regret to inform that due to paucity of funds we would be unable to support the travel and accommodation costs of outstation participants. However, we do welcome their interest.

Link to event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/421461907946390/permalink/421462391279675/

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