LEAVENING THE CONVERSATION: intersections of food, fermentation, and feminism

LEAVENING THE CONVERSATION: intersections of food, fermentation, and feminism

The inaugural Intersections of Food, Fermentation, and Feminism conference will take place at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF) of McGill University. This two day, bilingual event will bring together scholars and makers with the goal of integrating the thinking and doing of food practices. At this time, we invite abstracts for paper presentations as well as proposals for panel discussions, workshops, galleries, and demonstrations. Details on the submission process can be found below.

Conference theme: Food is a medium. Like conventional examples of media, food carries both content and relational messages that are produced, distributed, and consumed frequently and widely. As content, foods are the literal vehicles for delivering messages that are subsequently decoded and digested into meaningful units. Once absorbed, food-as-content can then be repurposed and mobilized by bodies, recirculating nutrients where needed. Fermented foods, in particular, act as a medium that interfaces between humans, microbes, and microbial foods. As a transformative process, fermentation incorporates multiple species, multiple senses, and multiple scales. As a metaphor, it operates as a productive figure for speculation and experimentation. Fermented foods also carry meaning and, as such, play into the relational and identity politics of the everyday eater. Here, a feminist lens provides a complex understanding of how the material and the discursive are constructed in and through food rituals, performatives, and customs. Where heteronormative ideologies dictate and prescribe, feminism and fermentation are grounded in the affective, the sensorial, and the peripheral. At the core of each of these domains –food, fermentation, and feminism– are binaries that animate dominant paradigms and power structures. Food is characterized by good/bad aesthetics, health/junk parameters, gourmet/street, and conventional/organic ideologies. Fermentation deals with human/nonhuman, self/other, and mind/body dualisms. Lastly, feminism is equally haunted by gender binaries, public/private spheres, productive/reproductive labor, affect/intellect, though many feminist scholars are actively collapsing these to propose alternate framings. We ask the question, what are the intersections between fermentation and feminism? How can we leaven these discussions with the type of complexity that supports social change?

Submission process: We welcome abstracts/proposals from a variety of fields, including food studies, communication studies, gender studies, cultural studies, history, anthropology, sociology, English, art, political science philosophy, life sciences, as well as other disciplines. We hope to gather ideas from a broad geographic range. Please send an abstract (250 – 500 words) along with a brief biography (100 words) to food.fermentation.feminism@gmail.com or by filling out this form. Proposals for pre-organized panel discussions, workshops, and demonstrations should include a summary (500 words), description of participants (100 words per speaker), as well as a proposed schedule. Abstracts are due Wednesday, August 16, 2017.


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