Food, Embodiment, and Knowledge

Type: Call for Papers
Date: May 19, 2016 to November 1, 2016
Location: Canada
Subject Fields: Theatre & Performance History / Studies

Food studies has emerged as a powerful disruption of dominant discourses about how we grow, distribute, make, consume, and waste food. The inter-disciplinary nature of food studies welcomes cross-boundary discussions that question hegemonic discourses and that produce the potential for imaginative interventions into current epistemologies and practices. [1]And yet, this discussion largely happens within the realm of the text, either through journals, books, archives, and conference proceedings. Visual media has also formed a bulk of knowledge production and transmission within the field.
But growing, preparing, and consuming food are themselves, as Lisa Heldke makes clear, “knowing” activities (212).[2] Hands, muscles, ears, tongues, noses, and fingers are combined sites where knowledge resides. And if these embodied practices are indeed “thoughtful,” what might we say about those thoughts that may only be expressed in the food we grow, make, and consume, rather than in the words we speak and write? How can we seek to facilitate knowledge construction about those aspects of individual perceptions of food that cannot be easily expressed in discursive statements or that cannot be expressed at all, but, that are nevertheless deeply felt at the limits of what can be thought and fashioned? How can food studies embody food knowledge differently? What alternative ways can food, as Virginie Magnat asks, “legitimize embodied knowledge as a counter-hegemonic mode of inquiry”[3]? What can the text NOT do that embodied practices can?
We begin this special issue of In/Tensions from Diana Taylor’s important work The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), which illuminates the relationship between the body and the archive of documents as one of colonial and hegemonic power distributed over indigenous bodies and cultures. We invite considerations of embodied explorations of food (and) knowledge. How might planting community gardens, performance and art creation, labor, consumption create and pass on knowledge? How might these modes of experience and learning become powerful forces for change in personal, community, and policy construction?
A multi-media journal, and aware as we are of the performative limits and possibilities of this format, we invite papers, performances, slide shows, videos, and art works that engage with ideas of embodied food-knowledge production. We welcome and encourage challenges to standard modes of academic and food production and consumption, as well as explorations of the limits of both embodiment and the text’s ability to represent food knowledge.
Topics might include:
  • Imaginative and experimental ethnographic methods and their potential for food studies
  • Performance and art installations
  • Gardening as embodied practice
  • Canning and Preserving as embodiments of time and community
  • Indigenous food systems and practices
  • The affective economy of food
  • The cultures of ‘the table’
  • Fast food and slow food
  • Consumer ‘taste’
  • Alternative food movements
  • Food sociability
  • Food and memory
  • Food and tradition, ritual and cultural performance
  • Food and migration
  • Food and knowledge making
  • Foodways and transnationalism
  • Embodied research practices
  • Food labour and livelihood
  • Culinary Education as Embodied Practice.